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, 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 at a high level. 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 or thirties. We see 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 because they don’t feel like our summers. Really?
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 seasons of Spring and Lent. Why? Think of Spring after a long Winter. It shows up gradually. The buds of the trees slowly awaken from their winter’s sleep. Nature slowly births new life from our many winters. Are you awakening to the new birthing in you?
When you give attention to this daily inner growth, the little changes joyfully appear in a new light. You learn that slowing up is a gift of the season and thankfulness appears naturally for most everything. If you want to live life free and want your dreams to be try aligning with your changing seasons and slowing up. Taste and see who you can be.