Imagine driving in the outside lane on a busy motorway. You’re speeding in an effort to outsmart your Satnav because you’re not going to get to where you want to go in time. From the moment you awoke that morning your thoughts were sprinting across your mind trying to process all the activities and duties you need to accomplish that day. You grabbed a coffee for a shot of caffeine and skipped breakfast so that you could respond to urgent emails. As your thoughts have grown omnipotent you no longer register the simple pleasures that adorn your life. You know that you are caught up on the Hamster wheel but you don’t have time to think about that now. You are far too busy.
With growing impatience you notice that the fuel tank is almost on empty and the intensity of speeding has devoured the fuel like a thirsty dog on a hot summer’s day. Do you risk getting to your meeting without stopping for fuel or do you just accept that you’re going to be late? Bizarrely you find it hard to decide. A simple decision but one that you feel impotent to make. Your knuckles are white as they clench the steering wheel causing blue veins of stress to rise like scars that provide evidence of pain. You’re perspiring heavily, even though you are in a fully conditioned car. Your shoulders and neck feel frozen under the burden of responsibility you continue to carry from one day to the next.
I can write eloquently and passionately about working too hard, working too much and working too fast and I see it in others easily. But with a sense of growing humility, I recognise that for most of my life I’ve alternated between the Hamster wheel and the treadmill. A growing sense of ‘stop the world I want to get off’ has been growing within me as I feel tired and weary. It took a good friend of mine, Jacqui to help me to see that unless I have a clear vision of how I want my life to be, then I’ll never create that which I desire most.
Jacqui began asking me a series of gentle questions that enabled me to shape a powerful vision of what I really want. Then helped me to create a simple strategy for how to get there. I realised that life could be much more simple, easier to live and more rewarding. But for some unfathomable reason I had added layers and layers of complexity into the molten lava of thoughts that were erupting in my mind.
Sometimes it takes a massive wake up call to realise that the life we are living in pursuit of tomorrow’s dream of peace and happiness is killing our spirit. We endure the relentless pressure for so long that we have disconnected from the source of true bliss. Death, disease, divorce or redundancy stops us in our tracks and gives us the opportunity to evaluate whether we really do want to continue on the treadmill that leads us to nowhere. At other times our focus on work excludes us from recognising that there is more to life than the work we do.
On the motorway when you are driving at a hundred miles an hour you miss the surrounding scenery because you have to totally focus on what’s ahead. The slightest thing could cause a catastrophic accident so the process of driving becomes tense and stressful. The minute we take our foot off the accelerator and switch down a gear we find it easier to breathe. We notice fields of buttercups, gamboling lambs, trees that have witnessed centuries of unfolding events. Our body softens as we relax into the driving seat and breathe in the fullness of our life. When we slow down we gain a rich perspective that is aligned with the truth contained within our heart. According to Lau Tzu, Chinese philosopher and the founder of Taoism, “To the mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.” When we slow down we can open our eyes and recognise what is really important. When we soften our attitude we thwart the relentless onslaught of busyness. With clarity we can adjust our pace to our purpose rather than allow ourselves to be dictated to by the ego’s demands.
Your life, your body, your uniqueness is more precious than a multi-faceted diamond. If you can yield to the slowness of your true nature then every moment holds the possibility for enhanced tranquility. When you breathe deeply you rejuvenate your soul and find it easier to appreciate what a beautiful world you live in. When you stop sacrificing today for the illusion of tomorrow you become an intentional creator of your own destiny. When you slow down you can embrace the ebb and flow of life. Once you stop rushing through life, you’ll have more time for living your life. You’ll be better placed to respond to every call that excites your spirit.
It’s your life and it’s the most precious possession you have. Treat it with kindness and respect because it really is time for you to slow down quickly.