Friday, June 22, 2012

Let the Heat Teach You Something... Really

Do you move fast, think fast and are constantly on the go? Me too. I'm not sure if it's a New York tri-state thing, but living up here doesn't help. Until yesterday. The heat has hit in New Jersey and it's a good lesson for some of us to slow down.

I try to walk to work as often as I can. The office is about 3/4 of a mile away from my house. So I stepped out of the house yesterday and into a wall of heat and humidity. Wow. At first I started with my usual quick walk, but before long I was slowly strolling toward the downtown (otherwise I would have been a puddle). And here is what I learned.

There is a lot to see in this world. I saw signs, people, animals and buildings I've never noticed. No matter that I've walked that route many times before, slowing down made me notice more things. I was able to see nuances of the family life of my neighbors that I've sped by before and I relished the beauty of my neighborhood.

It takes time to appreciate some things. I joked when I was studying for my MAPP degree about "speed savoring." I opined that we could keep up a breakneck speed in life and still savor what is around us. Okay, I was wrong. Perhaps we can savor to some degree, but we will still miss beauty, nuance and meaning. I stopped to look at an old tree in a park around the corner from me (it also offered shade). The age of the tree is visible and I thought about the generations who've walked by, or sat in it's shade.

It's hard to be calm when you always move at light speed. I arrived at work in a very peaceful mood and it lasted through the day. I realized that, for me, constantly moving creates a tension that sometimes I'm not even aware of. Slowing down occasionally helps me enter the day on a peaceful note.

Once this heat lifts, I will be tempted to return to my breakneck speed, but I hope that the lessons I've learned will help me slow down occasionally. Or I could just hope for the next heat wave.

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