As a young boy I was shy and introverted. I loved to watch and listen more than engage and participate. I had a propensity to be still in the midst of activity and alive in repose, or so it seemed to me. As I grew older, this behavior became less and less acceptable. My moseying attitude and non competitiveness was replaced with a more socially acceptable drive and competitive edge. My artist was transformed into an athlete.
I’m not making a case against athletics. I am, however making a case for gifts differing. In our hard driving competitive culture even the artist learns to strive, drive, and compete. Each of us gets caught in the cultural conditioning of more, faster, bigger, better and must win. We forget that presence and absence depend on each other as do play and work, ordinary and special, anticipation and fulfillment, failure and success.
I watch children and adolescents today who never seem to have a moment to themselves. They are programmed to be highly competitive, constantly busy and to perform, perform, perform. Those that don’t ‘play the game’ form their own sub-cultures, go against the flow and dim their lights. Teen suicide rates are at an all time high in our culture and we’re wondering why. How’s this fast go, go, go pace working for you?
In the early seventies a movie about St. Francis called ‘Brother Sun Sister Moon’ was produced. The soundtrack was written and performed by Donavon. One of the verses has helped me realign with my soulful artist. “If you want to live life free, take your time go slowly. Do few things and do them well, simple things are holy. Day by day you’ll grow too, you’ll see heaven’s glory. If you want to live life free, take your time go slowly.”
As we all continue to grow older daily, we seem to forget who we are and are called to be. We pass the half way mark somewhere in our forties yet live as if we were still in our twenties and thirties. We start seeing the end zone a little clearer and rather than slow up with a sense of deeper understanding, we continue to drive and strive with greater resolve. We then resent our autumns and winters and lose our aliveness in repose.
What would it feel like for you to be still in the midst of activity, to be vibrantly alive in repose? Can you even imagine it? Lente, a Latin word meaning ‘slowly’ is tied to the season of Spring. Why? Think of Spring after a long Winter. It shows up gradually. The buds of the trees and flowers slowly awaken from their winter’s sleep. Nature slowly births new life from our many winters. How are these new births manifesting in you?
When you give attention to this daily inner growth, life’s little changes joyfully appear in a new light. You learn that slowing up, like waking up is a gift for everyday, every season and thanksgiving appears naturally everywhere. You come to understand that if you want to live life free and want your dreams to be it’s imperative to align with life’s changing seasons by slowing up and growing up. It’s the natural way to taste and see who you can truly be through the gifts of inner wisdom, awareness and being free . . .
- When you find yourself hurrying and scurrying about in any given moment STOP and drop into a place of aliveness in repose. Take a few deep breathes and ask why you’re in such a hurry, what you’re afraid of that’s driving you? Slow up through your poised and peaceful heart, your beginners mind. Look within, grin and begin again. No fear.
- Recognize that hurry and fear cut your connection with the Infinite Oneness. Fear turns your strength into weakness while inner poise turns your weakness into strength. In the midst of activity calm and center, slow up, enlighten up. Breathe. Come home to who you really are. Calm and center. Awaken to your inner poise and power. . . .
- Remember to remember that calmness is the cradle of power. Be still for a few moments. Breathe slowly. Realign within. Ground yourself. Reset your in-formation. Calm your hurried and agitated mind. Compose yourself like a budding flower, like a rooting tree. . . .