Slowing Down: Imposition or Luxury?

Slowing down came upon me as an imposition. No question about it. It was nothing I wanted, it offered nothing that was appealing to me, and I never would have undertaken it if it weren’t thrust upon me. I resisted it, I tried to deny it and was certain I could overcome it.

It’s funny all of the stuff I used of which I used to be certain.

So, stillness plopped itself into my life even though I had a sign on the door saying “Stillness Not Welcome Here.” I’m a 7 on the enneagram. I like action. I am all about joy and exploration and activity.

Yeah, Stillness didn’t care.

And I fought it. I fought it hard. But, there I was still lying on the bed, or sitting in the chair. There I was, perfectly pain-free if I was still, in agony when i moved. So, eventually, I learned. I developed a saying, “When the Lord requires Stillness, the Lord gets Stillness.” And there was no denying the Lord required stillness.

Years go by, and now the Lord just requires Slowness most of the time. And I don’t resist it anymore. But when I say slowness, let’s be clear: my Tai Chi teacher tells me to pick up the pace. For the last year or so I’ve had a pretty significant limp, but now I realize I really only have a limp when I try to go at a normal pace. When I s-l-o-w i-t w-a-y d-o-w-n, I really don’t have much of a limp at all. At first I resisted, I mean, that is *ridiculously* slow. But, guess what? When I do it, moving like molasses, I’m actually much better. You’d think I’d learn. I guess I am learning.

Because, as much as I resisted, as much as I *did. not. want.* to be slow, I now recognize it as a gift. And, my former self cannot believe I’m saying this, but I see it as a full-on luxury. No one in this world gets to move this slowly. People are running from thing to thing to thing with barely enough time to catch their breath. I am sitting here taking my time in virtually every pursuit. I get to smell the flowers. I get to notice the stuff that quite frankly just passed in a blur before. I do not, I cannot, overschedule myself. I used to delight in my overscheduled self, and now I delight in my underscheduled self. Was it the Birds who sang about seasons?

One thing about slowing down, about this luxury that keeps you forcibly from FOMO (which, I understand, is quite the epidemic) is that it requires you deal with your shit. Now, this is typically pretty low on most people’s list, but when slowing down overtakes you, you don’t get a choice. But, what I’ve learned is that slowing down sortof serves up the shit to be dealt with in very manageable chunks. You see, slowing down, or perhaps slowness itself, isn’t afraid of anything. It’s got all the time in the world. This is such a brain shift from my typical prior mentality, but to bring me into the fold Slowness keeps putting little flowers on the path. Just one at a time, and it colors them in such a way that I really have to pick them up and examine them. Just flowers, nothing to fear. Sometimes weird, sometimes not quite pretty… Slowness isn’t afraid of looking at itself and it certainly isn’t trying to create some picture, meeting some “out there” requirement. It’s willing to take the time to let me weep. It’s willing to take the time to let me fail. It’s still sitting there when I do something stupid, and it’s exactly as comforting when I finally did something right. Slowness isn’t invested in the value structure of proving myself. Slowness, when accepted and met, is about savoring.

And thus it is a luxury. It is certainly exclusive. There are not many of us that have this privilege of experiencing life without the rush. It is expensive. It is financially costly on many levels, but because of the riches it brings, it is worth every penny.  It is rare and worthy of savoring, and it provides for great comfort and the rest to fully embrace it, to “luxuriate in it.”  One definition I found was “expensive and not necessary.” I guess that’s where I have to get off the bus, though, because it is more than necessary for me. It is essential. Like it or not. But, truly, these days I quite like it.

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