When my doctor told me to slow down, I completely ignored him. I didn’t really know what he meant, but it didn’t even matter. It was such a stupid thing to say, and such a stupid thing to do, I mean, I was a busy person. Slowing down wasn’t even part of my universe.
It took my body literally stopping me cold to even make me start to ponder what on earth he had been talking about, and how to think about life in a new way. I was forced to, and I can’t imagine how I might have come to it without such decisive intervention.
So how on earth could I presume to try to help people slow down? I have no idea what magic words might make someone consider the option in lieu of total body shutdown. Once the body shuts down, I could get going, but there is a period of confusion and grief that precedes the impetus to make the most of things or dive into the lesson.
In considering writing a slowing down program, I am realizing that I still have enormous gaps in my own learning. I know a lot about slowing down and I’ve realized the world-changing benefits of this new (to me) approach, but it’s as if I’ve found the joy of the wave and want to talk about the ocean. There’s just So. Much. More.
Plus, my life isn’t relevant to you. Your life is relevant to me in that it helps me to refine and evaluate my own predilections. When you try to tell me what to do, it becomes obvious how little you know about me (even if you’re the doctor telling me to slow down. You may know quite a bit, but without transmitting the awareness, it’s nearly impossible for me to properly assess). When I try to tell you what to do, I’m looking through a very narrow lens.
And yet we can inspire each other.
There was a significant amount of time on this journey wherein I did want you to tell me exactly what to do to get from point A to point B. I see you’ve journeyed a similar path, and I figured if I could replicate it, I could achieve point B more quickly. It only took several years of butting my head against point A.5 to realize I had to find my own course.
I really admire people who can find the razor’s edge of applying past wisdom to generate real change in a new situation. I think I’m going to get myself some training.
I don’t want to tell people what to do. I would, however, like to crystalize the benefits, patterns and activities of slowing down for those who have a real desire and no clue how to proceed. And then, I need to find that lovely balance of providing information without being didactic and gently guiding someone in a helpful way. I am trying to remember that moment; the moment of receptivity and what might have been helpful. Because we defend our weaknesses. It’s a silly habit, but we almost all do it.
Because we defend our weaknesses. It’s a silly habit, but we almost all do it. That defensiveness might be the single silliest human foible. I imagine it has its purpose, though.