“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” I love this simple yet profound quote from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.
Acknowledged as the founder of Taoism and author of the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu’s ability to express the inexpressible through succinct words that point directly to the living reality beyond is breathtaking.
Merely reading his statement triggers a subtle release in me and I feel myself dropping into the refreshing space of “Ahh… yes!”
There’s a sense of releasing personal agendas and deepening into a state of alert and open presence out of which appropriate actions spontaneously arise, if and when they are required.
Constant Pressure and High Expectations
Yet slowing down is the opposite of what has become a manic impatience for everything in the western world to be accomplished yesterday.
Perpetual busyness is the norm for so many people who are endlessly looking for faster ways to achieve their goals and make stuff happen.
Many years ago, Mahatma Gandhi wisely stated that, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
However, giving yourself permission to slow down is not easy in the face of constant pressure and high expectations (internal and external) to do more in less time.
I’ve recently crossed another threshold in relation to this in my own life and work.
I’ve consciously stepped off the edge of the way things have been regarding my relationship with the creative fire that’s fuelled so many personal and professional projects over the last 12 years.
Much as I’ve loved (almost!) every thrilling moment of riding that creative wave, it has been quite intense and I’ve spent a huge amount of time and energy developing one major project after another.
Yet the wheel of life has turned, and right now, I feel intuitively called to follow a deep impulse to pause the process of creating big new projects and give myself permission to slow down for a while.
It’s a significant step for me; I’ve finally cleared the last threads of resistance that were rooted in conditioned habit, and my delightful discovery is that it feels immensely liberating!
I’m continuing with the essential flow that’s at the core of my being and maintaining the expression of that in my professional life through writing, coaching, mentoring and playing with a simplified number of new ideas.
Yet I’m simultaneously experiencing what Lao Tzu describes in the opening quote to this post; there’s no need to rush, everything that’s truly important is being accomplished and the shift in how I feel is revelatory.
Permission to Slow Down
So I’m inspired to share my latest discovery and invite you to review your capacity to give yourself permission to slow down periodically, even if it’s only a temporary and modest change of pace.
I understand that it’s tough when you have numerous commitments that all seem to need your personal attention.
However, I hope that sharing my experience will encourage you to re-evaluate what’s absolutely required as opposed to what may have unconsciously become a habit that’s keeping you spinning at top speed unnecessarily.
Perhaps you’ll discover a window of opportunity you might not have noticed before, and just as I have, realize that both Lao Tzu and Mahatma Gandhi were right?
The only way to find out is to give it a go!
What are your thoughts and feelings about my invitation to experience slowing down for a while? Please share your comments or ask a question below. Thank you!