martha dawson

errant inspiration

the extraordinary lives in the ordinary

taming the time tyrant

Speed is irrelevant if you are traveling in the wrong direction.   
– Mahatma Gandhi

She snuck in.

I didn’t notice her at first. She was disguised as efficiency, accomplishment, and worthiness.

Before I knew it she was running my life like it was The Great British Bake-Off. You know, create a masterpiece (better than everyone else’s, of course.) and you have 55 minutes to do it. GO!

She greeted me each morning with To Do Lists that rivaled War and Peace in length.

She would then whisper under her breath, “Hurry up, hurry up, HURRY UP!”

She got me to believe that multitasking was a real thing. (It’s not by the way, science has shown that all your brain is doing is switching quickly back and forth between activities, not doing them at the same time. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.)

And she told me I didn’t have time to do it all anyway because I was too slow, too stupid, too weak.

So she robbed me of the things that I enjoyed doing because they took up time and were frivolous, unimportant, and wasteful. After all, time is money. (We can thank Ben Franklin for that little gem.)

She even infected situations that didn’t have time restraints making me anxious, irritable, and overwhelmed for no reason at all.

She sucked the joy out of everything.

Her name is Speed and her weapon of choice is the clock. She is a thieving tyrant and a fear mongering aficionado.

She promised more experiences, more knowledge, more money, more power, more happiness, more, more, more…. and threatened if I didn’t do what she said I would be left behind and never have what I desired. I would be a failure.

But what she didn’t mention was:

I wouldn’t savour the beauty that surrounded me. I wouldn’t even notice it.

There would be little, if any, time for curiosity or play.

I wouldn’t feel my emotions fully. They take up too much time and affect my velocity.

Self-care would not be an option.

Creativity and inventiveness  would go missing or at best be half-baked because they require time to incubate, unfold, ripen.

It would be difficult to hear the sweet, loving voice of my soul because it speaks quietly in the present moment. I would be too busy ruminating about what I had to do next and not be able to hear.

As a Minion of Speed I was required to focus my FULL attention on getting it all done, and what did my great reward turn out to be?  

Checking it off that crazy To Do List!

Really?!? That’s it?  

No. There was a something else.

The greatest gift was learning that Speed did not enrich my life, and I had the power to release its hold on me.

We are not machines. We are a living, breathing part of Nature, and Nature abides by cyclical rhythms. There is an ebb and flow. It’s not harvest time all year round. Life requires ALL parts of the cycle to thrive. Why then are we trying to match our pace to our electronics? They are suppose to be a tool, not the ruler of our lives. In our great desire for speed we are damaging ourselves, our communities, and the planet.

There is plenty of information out there on how we arrived at this point and the toll it is taking on us, so I won’t go into it here. I urge you to search it out. Right now I am reading a fascinating book tilted, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore. Thankfully a healthy, vibrant, slower way of life has not completely disappeared from the planet, and there seems to be a growing interest to know more about it. For example, the Slow Movement that began in Italy has a growing global membership, and over the last few years books have been popping up about Hygge, the Danish way of life that prizes cosiness, contentment, and connection. (The Danes have been recognized as some of the happiest people on earth!) There are even Sloth Clubs in Japan.

I decided to extricate myself from the Speed Trap, and that included convincing my temporal mind to give up a habit it had become very attached to, and to do it while living in a culture that still ascribes to the belief that faster is better.

Here’s some of what I am doing:

    • Ask my Soul Aspect and Spirit Guides for guidance and suggestions.
    • Read books about the subject (This is key to getting my temporal mind on board. It loves to learn.)
    • Intentionally slow down – I know this seems like a no brainer, but I discovered I rush around a lot out of habit, not necessity.
    • If I feel compelled to make a list, it is a list of possibilities not a to do list. This makes it about choices, not shoulds, and does not imply that everything must be completed in a day. It leaves room for spontaneity, one of the spices in my life.
    • Set priorities. Speed thinks EVERYTHING is a high priority. Not true. Everything is not an emergency.
    • Try not to measure the quality of a day or my worthiness by what I have or have not accomplished.
    • When emotions arise, I give them time and space to be felt.
    • Feed my curiosity in some way every day.
    • Listen to my body’s wisdom and signals and honour them.
    • Take the time to engage my physical senses. For example, I inhale the aroma of the coffee beans before I grind them, take a moment to revel in the dance of the dappled afternoon light on my living room wall, and luxuriate in the warmth of my fur friend curled up on my tummy while I read.
    • And I set a whole day aside periodically where I live without ever seeing a clock. It’s a sublime experience! I would like to do it for a whole week.

I have found the process calming and fascinating. I feel more like I am living my life, not running a race.The whole idea is to find your own natural rhythm. Everyone’s is a bit different, but no one’s is always set at full speed. It really is a joy to discover the nuances of the universal flow. It nurtures, heals and provides, no matter what the external circumstances are that surround you.

Dance to the rhythm of love that runs through you!


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