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Day 258 - Going to Take it Slow...As Fast as I Can.

Uh huh. Yep. New life motto.

Actually it could be an old life motto...

I have mentioned on numerable occasions that I am not slow or easygoing. I seem to have been born in a hurry and have had this hard relationship with time. I think I was born late and have been trying to catch up ever since.

I was talking to my friend the other night and he said the above...going to take it slow as fast as I can...and I got it. I completely understood what he meant.

For the first part of my life, slow wasn’t on the radar. I was in a hurry and blew through so very many things: jobs, people, friends, boyfriends, events, rites of passage. I know that I was there because I have photos and degrees and stuff like that. But as far as memories, there are few especially poignant ones because I was always in a hurry to get somewhere else.

In the last few years I have been working with slowing down. Taking my time. Enjoying the hike instead of hurrying to make it back on time so that I can being the next item on the never ending to do list. Allow time to become spacious and open and non-deadline driven.

To be sure, I have felt like I need to hurry up to slow down. I know I am a nut job. But time has taken on new meaning on the other side of 50. I am acutely aware every day of the sand slipping through the hour glass not in a bad way but just that this large expanse of time that I have abused and taken for granted until now, has an expiration date. And even though I will not ever know the exact date, I can feel it looming and it makes me see that every moment counts. What I do with every moment is important. There is no longer time to waste. Instead of hurrying up and adding more to the endless and somewhat punishing to do list, I feel the need to savor, relish and relax.

I have previously written about how much I suck at relaxing. Not able to give myself permission to lie on my swing and read for the entire day. I have been able through successive approximation to expand the time from fifteen minutes to over an hour. Taking an entire day to accomplish nothing, go nowhere, do little is still out of reach for me but I feel like I am making progress. There are moments now when I am fully present in the moment:

Tending to my garden, noticing the new zucchini squash, picking cherry tomatoes. I am there, in the dirt and I am nowhere else.

Walking the beach with my children. Watching them frolic with the dog as she runs past them at top speed.

Hiking the trail every morning with the dog and watching her as she experiences the same scenery completely differently than me.

Seeing my parents stand in their garage and talk to us from a safe distance.

Lying in the sun by the pool staring up at the trees.

Watching the butterflies flit through my backyard on any given day.

Sitting on the meditation cushion and allowing my gaze to soften as the clouds pass over head casting no shadow or mist.

These are the moments I have been missing for decades. These are the moments that I now have the capacity to embody and hold and cherish and savor.

I was walking on the beach the other day with my son. We spent a great deal of time talking, looking at an otter eating hungrily in the surf. Discussing dogs and college and cars. But then we fell silent. Walking in tandem saying nothing. It was peaceful and calm and nice. Being close but independent. Both of us lost in thoughts that belonged only to us. Sharing the moment while holding our own countenance.

So I am learnings to go slow as fast as I can. I am savoring this time, all of it. Regardless of whether it looks the way I want it to. Feels the way I think it should feel. Or contains the elements I believe it should hold. As quickly as I can, I am slowing down and living in the moment as it arrives and then without grasping or violent protest, allowing it to vanish before me. My only real task to hold a space for the next moment’s richness to arrive. Then beginning the whole process over again.

I find myself loving weekends with no plans, not things to do, just large expanses of time with no structure or form but full of substance. A space that remains unscripted and new. And with child like wonder I see things that have been here all along that I have missed: sunsets, sunrises, birds, bugs, my children, pets, parents, friends, love, like, health, freedom, joy, pain, loss, grief. And it all makes sense to me in a way that it never has before. It is the fabric of life. It is life distilled into tiny moments that are no longer something to get through to get onto the next thing...they are minute details of life handed out to me only if I am paying attention in a slow thoughtful manner and cadence.

So I begin this new day willing to retire my hummingbirdness...and allow for some new rhythm to come to life slowly as fast as I can.

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