Seems like everyone these days is in a hurry, on the move, "going for it," etc. Being busy seems to be a bit of a status symbol, a claim to self-worth. I have a theory that most of us run past more than we catch up with. Certainly life is fraught with pressures and challenges, but where did we get the idea that our identity equals our pace? I've learned that It takes a lot of slow...to grow. But beyond that, it requires more discipline and delivers better results.
Here are some things you really CAN'T do when you're in a hurry:
1. Listen. William Moss said, "The greatest gift you can give someone is the purity of your attention." When was the last time you sat down with someone you love and said, "Tell me how you're feeling. I want to know everything that's going on with you?" I've counseled many women who'd give anything for a man who loves them enough to ask such questions. And by the way, I know some men who'd love to have someone's undivided attention for an hour or so; they just don't like to admit it. Relationships deteriorate when we're in a hurry. Always. If you're not asking questions, and you're not listening...you're not loving at the highest level. Think about that.
2. Hug. Someone in your world needs a hug; a long hug. A sincere hug. An understanding hug. A hug that sends a message. That won't happen if you're living in parallel universes and passing each other in the hallway at breakneck speed. It won't happen unless you care enough to make it happen. And to be sure, it won't happen if mentally, physically and emotionally, you're scurrying here and there like there's no tomorrow. Priority check?
3. Reflect. We tend to take in more information than we can productively process. Be still. Don't just think...reflect. Measure the value of things. Go deeper than memorizing sound bites, giving pat answers, saying what everyone else says and thinking what everyone else thinks. Don't talk at people, talk with people. That takes reflective thinking, something that's become a bit of a lost art these days. There's no such thing as Cliff's Notes love. To say something that matters generally takes more than 140 letters. It's called time.
4. Create. I'm not writing this while sitting at a red light, rather I'm sipping hot coffee, fixated on the Eastern horizon, watching the sun sneak up on a new day. I'm getting in touch with life, not my to-do list. That can wait. I've decided that, as long as I'm still breathing, I want to live, not just exist. I want to be a human being, not a human doing. Big difference. So I don't have enough time in the day to not be still.
5. Learn. I was at the gym the other day and noticed someone reading a book while running on a treadmill. I admired their coordination...seriously. I'd get dizzy and fly off the back of the belt at the speed of light. But is this what we've come to? Sound bite lives? Wikipedia research? Short reads? Quick courses? Two-minute chats? I've read thousands of books over the years. I can't recall learning much from any of the books I read quickly. I remember the first time I read "The Grapes of Wrath," by John Steinbeck. I was in ninth grade. When I finished, I cried. That never would've happened if I'd scanned it.
Finally, for those of you who've sped through this in a hurry, go back to the top and read again line-by-line. I'm serious. Learn the value of a pause. It can become one of your best friends...and you don't have to wait till a summer vacation to get acquainted. The most important things in life happen during a pause. That's where you find the most meaning, ask the best questions, and discover important strengths and weaknesses. It's where you enjoy the deepest relationships; where you hear most distinctly and see most clearly.
Pauses...well, they help you enjoy the journey.
Friend, this is your one-and-only life. When you get to the end and look back, I hope it's more than a blur. Things that are blurry always make us want something better. It's called clarity, another good friend of a quality life. Don't wait till the end to discover clarity.
Hey, have a wonderful day. I've got to run...er...sit for awhile and watch "Mr. Sun." He's become a close friend ever since I decided to take time to enjoy him; ever since I came to realize the things that matter most.
If I've only made you feel guilty today, I've failed. But if you've gotten the idea that I care and I want life's best for you, then this was worth the pause...for both of us.