Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Slow Ride, Take It Easy

I have the pleasure of working for an organization that puts great value on its faith-based mission. So much, in fact, that they provide an inspirational, motivational, keep your head up, you can live a great life, hug-and-heart fest once a year for all employees. It's usually pretty good stuff. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for today and I just wasn't in the mood to give up four hours in my crazy, overloaded work day. But I went. Begrudgingly.

We started off talking about our character strengths. That was alright. I found out I'm curious about the world, humorous and playful, and full of gratitude. My co-workers also thought I was spiritual, full of love and genuine. While I tried really hard to be reflective and soak in these super kind words, I just wasn't engaged. I'll confess I checked my phone several times, drank three cups of coffee and took two "unofficial" breaks in the first hour alone. I was an animal circling a cage.

When the speaker got to his top 10 strategies for developing personal resilience, his words and great personal stories started to sink in. I closed my eyes, inhaled deep breaths, and let the sun shine on my face to cultivate more gratitude. I laughed out loud at a comedy skit on the evolution of dance to help us identify our plethora of options in the world. But it was the number six tip that hit home and went deep.

#6: Slow things down with some regularity. He quoted an author saying, "What if you missed your life like a person misses a train?" There was a whole room full of people, but it was like he was talking only to me. I mean look at how I had treated this day already, which is the same, sadly enough, as every other day. I am in a race to get things done. Instead of slowing down and focusing on one thing, my mind is racing toward the 46 things that need to be done by the end of the day. I like achieving, I do. I'm just starting to regret what I might be missing.

For example, my 6-year-old becomes a chatterbox when we get in the car. He talks my ear off. He also remembers every conversation and promise I've ever made. I often mumble back to him, half-listening and half-heartily, that it slipped my mind or I forgot about that story. "Well, of course, you forgot," he said to me one day. "You gave half your brain to me when I was born and then my brother got the other half. You have none left, so that's why you always forget stuff."

This is where the tears came in today. I'm not forgetful, my friends. I'm just not paying real close attention. I'm missing beautiful parts of my life because I don't slow down to enjoy it. That's hard to admit. It's even harder to change. The speaker gave a great suggestion when he said, before you enter a room, touch the door knob and say, "be here now." Be present. Be open. Be here now. I really love that.

I imagine that if I don't get everything done in day, no one will care all that much. People in my life might not even notice (because they're super busy, too), but a big transformation is taking place within me. I'm going to start slowing down and enjoy my life a little more. I don't have to juggle the whole wide world. This isn't the circus. It's my life. I'm thinking I better make it count.


  1. I imagine that most others who read this will feel as I do--this was meant for me. We try and try to rationalize our business, suggesting to others (and ourselves) that we are obligated to do and be all that others (and ourselves) expect us to be and do. Sometimes we even blame it on God--I'm serving God, so it must be important (as though God can only use ME to do the things God wants to do! Such arrogance!). Thank you for shining a light on this challenge. I've noted, with sadness, that several other countries who have admired and imitated our American work ethic, have copied our workaholism to the detriment of their families, too! Japan and Taiwan caught our virus and now China seems to be catching it, too. Sigh....

  2. Thank you, Heather. Just the reminder I needed today as well. Changes have to be made and it starts with me. Love you and so appreciate you.