You know when you haven’t seen someone in a bit, and you’re like, “Hey! What’s new?” and they’re like, “I got married! And bought a house! And went on a yoga retreat in India! And I’m pregnant! What’s new with you?!” and you’re like, “Well, not much is too different from the last time I saw you… still on my slow and steady trajectory, most of my change is happening on the inside.” and then they nod and smile politely and don’t really have much to say in response?
You may or may not relate to this (somewhat dramatized) experience. We all have different paces, and yours may be more of a fast-twitch-muscle style, where things are constantly happening and shifting and you always have an exciting and tangible update no matter how long it’s been since you last saw a person. Ain’t no shame in that game either. All rhythms are to be respected and honored. Also, different life stages lend for different pace patterns.
I’m writing about the slow train today because it’s not a style that gets a lot of credit. It’s not flashy or sexy in an obvious sense. In fact, most people are terrified of things not “moving fast enough” in their lives. They feel like losers, or like total bores. At least, that’s what comes up for me from time to time. But when I’m thinking clearly about it, I can honestly see that I’m not a boring loser. I’m just not in a rush to get anywhere because right here is where it’s at. Right here is where I can experience the pleasure of being. I like what’s possible when I allow change to happen incrementally vs. dramatically. I like when I take a moment to reflect back on a year ago and can see all of the sustainable and nourishing new additions to my work, lifestyle, and relationships. No fires had to be set ablaze. No cliffs had to be leapt off of. No overwhelming transitions needed to be adjusted to as things just evolved, almost imperceptibly, but abundantly nonetheless.
Sometimes being on a high-speed-rail, beaming through newness at lightning velocity isn’t a choice we get to make. Shit happens that turn our lives upside down and we have to respond. It may even create a domino effect of other massive life changes that aren’t quite in alignment with our typical stride, yet we endure the storm because we have to and we’ll be stronger for it in the end.
Props to all y’all out there making that fast life work, especially those who were confronted with big changes that you weren’t preparing for. You. Totally. Got. This.
But for those of you who think that you have to be grinding hard all the time in order to be successful and worthy, or are actually accustomed to waving that tortoise flag, but may do so a bit reluctantly, here are a few things about the slow train that are so very valid:
Strong foundations aren’t built in a rush. I wouldn’t want to live in a house, or be in a relationship, or be responsible for work that was slapped together in a pinch. Strong foundations are fundamental to successful outcomes. And, strong foundations take time. They also require taking space away to gain necessary perspective. We have incredibly high potential for fulfillment in the endeavors we practice patience with.
Also, if we’re always working really hard to make things happen, then we don’t have any space to simply let things happen. You know, the surprises. The stuff we can’t plan or anticipate. The best stuff! The best stuff needs room to enter. And moving slowly creates the space for the best stuff to integrate all the way through.
And another thing…
Self-care doesn’t happen very well when we are moving too quickly. Have you noticed? We have to slow down to be good to ourselves. And if we are doing our self care in a rush, than it isn’t really too caring, or so I've noticed. It’s like the difference between having a doctor that dashes in, doesn’t really listen or ask good questions, and writes you a prescription for something you probably don’t need and then scoots you out the door. Versus one who sits down and really listens to your concerns. Really inquires about your symptoms. Takes good notes. Gives you helpful information and several options, and follows up with a check-in call. It’s A REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE. The same is true for how we tend to ourselves. And how we tend to ourselves has everything to do with how we feel about ourselves. And how we feel about ourselves has everything to do with how happy we get to be. Slow = Care = Happy.
So the next time you feel like your life isn’t moving fast enough, ask yourself where it is you’re so badly trying to get? Then ask yourself what it is you think you’ll experience once you get there. Are you trying to get to X because you want to feel purposeful? Peaceful? Happy? If you’re chasing meaning by trying to have and accomplish it impatiently, you’ll more likely burn yourself out before you have the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You can be purposeful now by doing something, anything really, on purpose. You can be peaceful now be getting into some juicy stretches and some deep breathing. You can be happy now by calling on gratitude for the amazing people in your life who love you so much.
Why we always tryna get somewhere other than where we are?!
Can we instead just trust that we are getting right where we are supposed to be going, even and especially if we can’t see where that is? That we might actually be there already? That here and now is our ultimate destination? That allowing ourselves to feel complete NOW is how we can find the fulfillment that we’ve been seeking all this time?
Ain’t no shame on the slow train! Because the only real goal is to ENJOY THE RIDE.
May your pace serve you on the highest and truest of levels.
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