In my meditation this morning, the first ten minutes of which I fidgeted and Thought (with a capital T), I soon became aware that I meditated as though it were a task to check off a very long list. I was in a hurry to finish up and meditate already, so I could get back to doing stuff.
My breath deepened. I didn’t even know what so urgently demanded my attention.
But I did realize that much of what I do is done in a rushed or hurried manner. I rush breakfast into my mouth while trying to get my son dressed and fed in the morning. I rush him out the door and myself to class or to work. While he’s at camp or school I rush around to errands in the hopes I’ll still have enough time after working to write.
I took a few more deep breaths, felt the air expand my lungs all the way full with the sudden awareness that I don’t even take full, deep breaths most of the time. My lungs stretched, my belly pushed out and I felt the urge to laugh a little.
It’s no wonder I wake with little wings of anxiety beating constantly inside my ribs, awaiting their task list, their task-master.
But I don’t rush when I’m writing or in the garden. In fact, several times, I’ve made the mistake of thinking I can just pop out to the garden for a tomato or a squash while cooking something on the stove, returning to a smoking pan twenty minutes later after the garden pulled me into its timelessness. The garden lives outside of my hurried human time. It’s in an ever-present now, roots stretched deeply, slowly into the soil, tendrils and leaves, vines and stalks always reaching with patience toward the sun.
And when I put my pen to paper, the to-do lists drop away. The world recedes. I travel into “inner space”—where the only things to be done don’t have a timeline.
In fact, creativity requires focus and attention. Slowness. Our lives are often not constructed to allow for the room, time, space or patience to allow for these deep stretches of peace.
I think slowness and extra space are necessary; try to find a little in your day today.
Join me today in not rushing. Not hurrying. Do whatever it is that you do that is slow, unhurried, peaceful.
Take a truly deep breath; maybe for the first time.