I have been rushing about today not getting to the work I planned to do, which is to work on the book. There seems to always be one more email, phone call, essential detail to deal with and/or fix. So, now, I come to Rod Mac Iver at Heron Dance. Hmmm!
Dear Heron Dancers,
A balanced life is one based on its own rhythm. We live in a culture moving ever faster. If we don’t decide on our own rhythm, the speed of things around us will impose its tempo on our lives. The space we make for quiet time in our lives affects our thought patterns and to a large extent the quality of our lives.
I've frequently told myself that unless I rush, I'm not going to get everything done that I need to get done. I don't have time to plan—I've got too much to do. I don't have time to think through the objective or envision the desired outcome. I don't have time to meditate. Wrongo. All wrong. Rushing contributes to low quality, wasted effort, mistakes, fatigue and even illness. I've learned the hard way that few things slow you down and waste time as much as illness. That's why they call people sitting around doctors' offices “patients”.
You can't meditate fast. You can't get deep into the things that really matter fast. Human relationships require slowness. A close relationship with one’s self requires slowness. A spiritual life is not a rushed life. You can't do quality creative work fast. You can execute fast—most of the impressionistic work I really like is executed quickly—but if the work is to have depth and character, it has to be created out of contemplation and reflection.
I just read a book that includes a chapter on the now worldwide Slow Food Association—a group that proposes that we add quality to our lives, and deepen our relationships with friends and family, by purchasing fresh food grown locally on small scale farms, preparing it carefully with love and then eating it slowly. (To read more, visit here.)
A week or so ago, I let the internet subscription in my studio expire. I can now hook up to the web for only one or two workdays a week. That simple step is allowing me to really focus on my creative work and explore the images and words in my mind.
We're individuals, and one speed doesn't fit all. The important thing is to put thought into the rhythm of our lives. Telling yourself, “I would like to slow down, but I have no choice” is not good enough. If we don't own our own lives, our own time, we have to ask ourselves if we own much, in any real sense.
In celebration of the Great Dance of Life,
Rod Mac Iver