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Gentle Virtues

Slowing Down

04/01/2008 - A fox stuck in a well entices a thirsty goat to join him and it does. The fox then climbs onto the goat's back and goes free, leaving the goat in the well and leaving us with the moral: 'Look before you leap.'

Have you ever leaped before looking ? I can raise my hand. In haste I have brushed my teeth with my dad's hair gel. (Ick! Yuck! Horrid stuff!!) In haste I have rushed my children out the door, jumped on the interstate, and heard John, my preschooler, say, "Mom…I'm not wearing any shoes." Both incidences could have been avoided if I had just s-l-o-w-e-d d-o-w-n,

Slowing down for most of us seems as strange as Mount Erebus, Antarctica's volcano that sputters hot gas and lava bombs. To slow down seems more like a rarity than a reality.

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Let's take a look at the pace we are keeping. Is our pace rhythmic and steady or does it resemble more that of a race horse? Do we like the pace we are keeping?

The word pace is inside the word space. See it? It's as if it is to remind us that we need a moderate pace if we are to have space; space between appointments, activities, and the unexpected.

Physician Richard A. Swenson expresses in his book, The Overload Syndrome, how our society is driven to do more and more and to go faster and faster to the point of overload, exhaustion and collapse. America does not stand alone. Japan, China, and other countries face this concern as well.

Aside from the damage to our health and our relationships, a fast-paced lifestyle robs us of another thing we need. And interestingly enough, it has the letters p-a-c-e in it. Add an 'e' after the 'p' and you will see what gets pushed out of our lives when we push ourselves too hard. It is peace.

When we don't have peace, we can't share it. We also become anxious like that thirsty goat in Aesop's fable; leaping before looking.

When we pursue peace more than progress, we are able to slow down and make better choices. We then are less likely to be outfoxed.

Better choices, better results. A moderate pace with adequate space. Peace to have and to share. These are the rewards for slowing down.

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