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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speed and Pace In Life

The modern world is filled with instant access to anything and anyone at any time and pressure to multi-task and produce more with less. I create lists, both written and mental, so that I can feel accomplishment and yet even on those days where I manage to complete these lists I feel no satisfaction.  What comes for me on those rare days is exhaustion.  This is not how I want to live my life in the second half and yet this pull is so powerful in my person that I sometimes feel powerless to change.
What I really want is a more balanced life. A life of only doing does not leave much time for spiritual matters, creativity or a sense of connection to others or the planet.  As I have gotten older I strive to be conscious and present to the opportunities and situations which greet me every day, however, I remain, for the most part, speeding through my life.

And yet, the universe sends opportunities to look at another way of being. There is no “To Do” telling me to talk to the neighbor about her garden, console a friend who has lost his cat or watch the last of a beautiful Northwest sunset. Yet, these are the things that give me great joy and a deep sense of connection and also nurture my soul. Yet, still,  society is telling me that these are not important and in fact are “unproductive” or not purposeful. How have I let the doing control my life?

Searching for some guidance I came across a wise little book (The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin). Christina offers hope and sustenance for the soul.  Christina suggests that what is missing from modern life is discernment between what she calls “Speed” and “Pace of Guidance”. Speed being the heroic journey that consumes the lives of the common man and woman demanding that we act fast and be driven by our technology. Pace of Guidance, on the other hand, means slowing down enough to be present to everything that comes through life’s front door and being able to hear the guidance that is available if we choose.

I resonate with Christina when she says “The pace of guidance, like peace of mind, begins internally—in me. Even though all my conditioning teaches me to accommodate speed, I am responsible for the pace I bring to the moment, just as I am responsible for the peace I bring to the moment.”  Yet I am so wired to the doing, doing, doing that to slow down and be present to my life feels like a character flaw or laziness or like I am somehow giving up. And yet I am constantly called to slow down.

I don’t know what the pace of guidance looks like on a full-time basis but I know that when I experience it I sense joy and deep appreciation and connection to Spirit. Every moment holds the opportunity to be totally present and intentional to my life.  Isn’t that really the foundation of a spiritual life?

For the time being it will have to be enough to simply ask the question, How do I move at the pace of guidance, no matter what speed the world asks me to move? Asking the question helps keep me present to what is happening in my life and reminds me to leave room for guidance to be heard. This is enough for now.

For Christina Baldwin's book.