Why It’s Hard to Slow Down

“Lie down and listen to the crabgrass grow,
The faucet leak, and learn to leave them so.
Yourself, be still –
There is no living when you’re nagging time
And stunting every second with your will.”
– Marya Mannes

Breathe, relax, find your center, meditate… we heard it all before, but the wheel keeps going round and round. And how can we stop running when the wheels keep moving? And how can the wheel stop if we keep running?

Sounds familiar?

The truth is it’s hard to stop because stopping takes tremendous effort. First, we must exert energy to counter the momentum, and then, we must actively hold the wheel still to keep it from rolling. It’s seems easier just to keep going.

“Just keep going, I’ll get used to the pace,” I’d tell myself. I’ve lived with this unconscious mantra for a long time (I still do). Until… my body breaks out in hives. My throat tightens in soreness. My jaws lock in grinding. And finally, I crash onto the couch staring blankly at the ceiling.

The last time this happened, I finally got the cue. My body is telling me something (um, duh!) Sitting with this observation, at last, I traced my restlessness back to a deeper source – the fear that if I stood still, I’d run out of time.

“Idleness is only a coarse name for my infinite capacity for living in the present.”– Cyril Connolly

Here’s the thing about time. We’re running out of it anyways whether we run faster or not. In actuality, the more present we are, the slower time will be. So, I stopped trying to stop the wheel. I let it run. I watched it go round and round and I savored this brief moment seeing the beauty of its motion in my stillness. And yes, this too, shall pass.

“let all go– the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things — let all go
so comes love”
– e.e. cummings

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