Slowing Down to Become More Real

Why have I, and perhaps you, always valued speed? Yes, we can certainly get more things done in a shorter time, so that’s one honest advantage. And that certainly had great value for me when I was younger, as a mother of three working for a living.

Nevertheless, there’s an almost religious fervor these days about the need for multitasking, and 5G electronics don’t help. When we get into the habit there’s no longer any questioning about it. We nolonger ask ourselves when it’s appropriate and when not necessary. In my case, as deputy chief of reporters at Fortune magazine, I was very much in need of money as I raised a family. But behind that was the fear of retiring, of how slowing down would affect me. Would I become a cow in a field, sitting on the sofa, chewing my cud, my life bereft of meaning?

Which brings me to the recommendation that once we’ve become slaves of the deep habit of hurrying at everything we do, it’s time to escape. But how, when the habit is overwhelming? One way is to reexamine our values. For example, when you look back into your past, how many events are still so alive to you that every time you think about them it’s like reliving them? And how much of the time of your life has swept by somewhat foggily, in a rush of doings and reactings?

Personally, now that I have fewer duties to keep up with beyond taking care of myself and dedicating time each day to writing, the price of hurry has become unacceptably high. I’ve discovered that there’s a lack of real feeling in hurried encounters with family, friends and even strangers, or in finding rushed solutions to momentary needs. If I wish to live in the present, I need to decide what moves I am making from a basis in reality rather than because I’m pushed or pulled by longings or reactions, or while I’m dreaming my life away.

OK then. So what brings me closer to reality? One key is to wake up to how I really feel at any moment. Not to judge it, but to acknowledge it. Only then can I make a decision that includes head, heart and body. We could try this together this week!

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