THE SOULFUL LIFE
By Scott Kalechstein
Slowly Is Holy
“Seek Ye First The Kingdom, And All Else Shall Be Added”
— Jeshua Ben Joseph
We’re seeing a lot of interest these days about slowing down or reversing the aging process. We take Human Growth Hormones and state of the art vitamins. We take power walks and veggie juices. But how many of us take our time?
There is a new verbal time- release supplement that I’ve been experimenting with: “The more I take my time, the more time I have to take.” This may boggle the mind for a moment, but a quick review of Einstein and physics will help it make sense. Time is relative, and how fast or slow I experience its passing depends entirely on my state of mind. My peace of mind clearly depends on me.
Do I want peace of mind? Is it a priority? Well, yes, it is, ...but first...and the ‘but first’ is the source of all my frustrations.
We live in a culture that any semi-sane observer from another planet would diagnose as having a massive and widespread case of Attention Deficit Disorder. With our DSL connections, microwaves, and multitudes of time saving technological devices, we still are the most frantically rushed and least present civilization ever to grace this planet.
I am a businessman, or, more honestly, a busyness-man. On a typical day I plow through my list of to-do’s, emails, phone calls and errands with adrenaline as my taskmaster. My Higher Self whispers, “Please take a breath, pause, slow down and relax the pace.” I hardly hear it, let alone heed it. Time is money. There’s too much blood pumping through my veins to listen to a still, small voice.
I move too fast. I multi-task. Multi-tasking insures that, with my attention divided, I am not totally present to anything, especially myself. While brushing my teeth I check my email. While talking on the phone I exercise on my rebounder. I rarely sit still. I feel like I’m on a treadmill. ADD is not just for kids anymore.
People in the twelve steps often say to a newcomer: “Have a slow recovery.” What’s that about?
I am an addict. Speed is the drug. It’s regularly injected into my daily life. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m not taking responsibility, but it’s a pretty popular and approved of substance in this society. It’s easy to obtain. My parents pushed it, my teachers role modeled it, and I see people under its influence everywhere.
These days slowing down and noticing the roses, let alone smelling them, is something many are putting off till retirement.
“The more I take my time, the more time I have to take.” Could that be true? When I operate from the premise that there isn’t enough time, there does indeed seem to be a scarcity of the stuff. But when I go about my business as if there is more than enough time, well, you get the picture. Time (and space!) warps and bubbles to accommodate our picture of reality.
Like most external drugs, speed works by stimulating the body to produce its own drugs. Adrenaline is what gets manufactured internally when the reptilian part of the brain perceives danger. It pumps us up with energy and gets us poised for fighting or running.
Am I driving, or being driven? When on speed, who cares! Acceleration is happening and it feels exhilarating (if I can remember to breathe occasionally). Never mind that I’m moving much too fast to recognize that it’s my fear pressing down on the accelerator.
When I am rushing I am running scared, and I am letting fear run the show.
To be honest, a part of me gets off on the power surge that adrenaline produces. How stimulating, to be running around in a semi-manic state, getting things checked off my to-do list in record time. My ego inflates with a sense of importance. If I am busy, I must be a valid person. Worth comes from performance, doesn’t it?
Speed kills. It kills the joys of the journey, the hope of peace, and the satisfaction in being present, moment-to-moment. Speed screams, “Just get there, somewhere, anywhere- anywhere will do, whatever the cost!” Love whispers, “Enjoy the journey, for that is all there is.”
Maybe smelling the roses is not something I can afford to procrastinate. Maybe, in the Big Picture, enjoying the journey is my soul’s destination.
When we value peace we certainly will have it.
I’d like to close with one of my favorite poems about slowing down:
By Pablo Neruda.
|And now we will count to twelve and we will all keep
For once on the face of the earth let’s not speak in any language, let’s stop for one second, and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines, we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would not look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victory with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about, I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves.
Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve, and you keep quiet and I will go.
Scott Kalechstein, M.D.T. (Modern Day Troubadour) can be found sharing his musical, ministerial, speaking, and healing gifts with churches, conferences, businesses, and individuals around the world. To be placed on Scott’s email list, send a hello to email@example.com , or visit www.scottsongs.com for more inspiration, laughter, song samples, and information.
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