Do you ever feel like a rat in a maze? Running from task to turn, spinning until you think, wasn’t I just here? Chasing a non-existent tail around a sharp-angled curve?
Ever feel that way?
I’ve just had a sustained time of way too much to do. We all have those stints. Where the segments of life kept compartmentalized in order to attend to all the tasks associated with each seem endless. Which becomes exhausting when all goes well, and insane when whatever subject snakes out of its appointed box on the shelf.
And I don’t know about you, but when that occurs, it affects my mood. And not in a positive way! And one thing I know for true is that when I allow that to occur, my life goes straight to Hell without even a handbasket.
Long ago, I ran across this definition of Hell: Useless, unnecessary suffering. Now, not getting into the theology of it all, this practical definition always resonates with me. Because I’ve learned along the rutted path that I create my own Hell on Earth.
Our lives always tend to come back to us, no?
And often when in that scenario, I lose sight of my purpose.
Because when that occurs, then the whole: What am I doing this for? Rears its quite repulsive head.
And that’s when I know for sure—it’s time for a mental, emotional, spiritual change.
So I did the most counter-intuitive thing I know in this situation. And paradoxically, the thing that always works.
Oh, not everything. But quit one of my most time-consuming tasks through all of this. I just stopped. For a whole week.
And took the time for me.
Now, some folks might watch movies and eat ice cream during such a hiatus. Or, leave the premises for a vacation. Both of which I heartily endorse!
But this wasn’t a time for diversion. At least not for me, not during this very spell.
No, the juncture had come where that old ‘finding your purpose’ was mandatory.
And with it, a bit to slow down and enjoy life.
So I spent the week getting back to what makes me tick, on the inside. Back to spiritual food, to reading the bound books stacked up on every corner of my home. To turn another direction (which is the literal definition of ‘repent’) and refocus my priorities.
Because another thing I know for true is a funny thing about this life—it has never slowed down for me on its own.
And when I’m in the thick of the jungle, trudging through the slog, no way exists to see the forest for the trees.
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarisa Pinkola Estes is a bible of mine. Through myths it conveys what makes us tick, focused on following the deep intuition. Then I read the cutest little whimsical book called E Squared by Pam Grout, which gives 9 experiments that prove your thoughts create your reality.
Sometimes you need that broader view, the wide-angle lens, so you can pinpoint from where you’ve come, and that the goal in sight is indeed closer and still rife with meaning and purpose.
Yep, needed that.
I picked up a marvelous book by Sports Psychiatrist Michael Lardon called Finding Your Zone, which discusses in-depth how folks (using the model of athletics but not relegated to that) get into that elusive zone. Step 1 is to ask for insight from a dream before sleeping, then writing down those dreams.
I’ve done deep dream work, but hadn’t in a while, being so sleep deprived that I haven’t been remembering them, even though I know we have 5-7 dreams per night. What heaven to get back to the wisdom of those!
And within the seed there, my desires and dreams and goals all surged with energy that my body and mind had forgotten.
Priorities reemerged. Sharpened and became so much clearer. As I pulled away the weeds from my path, I let go of old useless patterns and the way grew bright again.
And my commitment to the finish returned—stronger than ever before.
So yep, although it seems insane when in the midst of far too much to do, when the race has miles and miles yet to be run, when the frenzy grabs your throat and screams, “Keep sprinting now!” to instead stop and smell the roses, that’s sometimes exactly what needs to be done. Otherwise you might be running in the entirely wrong direction to boot.
To slow down and enjoy life can seem just anathema at times. But those are usually the very junctures where it’s mandatory. Maybe not for an entire week. But then again, maybe so.
Because without clear and sharp focus, we lose sight of our goals. Indeed, we’re just running.
How do you slow life down?