So I have decided to slow. Now, I rest. I consider. I walk in my big rubber boots in a thoughtful rhythm, mindful of the birds around me, singing their way through the day, keeping their own time while I keep mine. It is something I am not yet good at, this pace. I have to focus on noticing. It is the only way to go slow.
If I take the time to notice the smell of the flowers on the air, the sound of the bees in their work, the look of the clouds gathering in the blue, I can do it. I can slow down and take a measured approach to my life. But when my days are filled with "should's and "have to"s, accidents happen, and I miss a lot of what I have come to enjoy about my life.
But there is more. I have learned a new way to be around people. I have recently noticed that I am not reacting to people's behaviors because it is such a fast rhythm, reaction. It happens so fast I often make mistakes and hurt people, and in extension, myself. The slow way is to consider. The slow way is to think what future me wants to have, and how she wants to feel. This takes a while because I don't know her yet.
But when someone does something that is inconsiderate, or does something that hurts me, instead of reacting to that incident, I go about thinking how to move forward without resentment; how to live my life so this behavior no longer bothers me. It is a process. It is not an in-the-moment thing, so I don't rush. I give myself the time to go forward so I don't subject myself to the behavior that causes me pain. Instead of arguing over what someone did or didn't do that hurt me, I just alter my behavior so I no longer put myself in those situations. Additionally, the pain from the original event dissipates because I am not focusing on what hurt me, or what they did, but on how I can ensure that I won't be hurt again.
It isn't my responsibility to correct the behavior of others. It is my responsibility to go through my life in love, in joy, and in the knowledge that I have control over how I can feel about things, I just need to be methodical and somewhat reserved in what I share of my emotions.
This has been a bit shocking. I suddenly feel an increased sense of comfort around people because I have realized I don't have to trust them, I have to trust myself to do the right thing so I don't end up saying or doing something that is hurtful. I must trust myself to take good care of my heart while not damaging the hearts of others. This is a slow and careful thing to do, but it is one of the most important things I have been able to change.
I look back on my life and see how I have hurt people, and how badly that has always made me feel about myself. I have decided I don't want to carry that with me anymore. It is too much of a load, and I have been the one packing the heavy bags.
After I practiced this a few times, with a couple different people, I felt transformed. I have struggled with feeling taken care of, feeling loved, all my life. It seems obvious now, but I was putting the responsibility on other people when I should have been the one taking the wheel. I have come to see that most people aren't really all that good at taking care of themselves, so expecting them to take good care of me, well...it isn't really logical.
And all of this because I decide to go slow. I know it will be a while before I can do this without thinking, before it is second nature, but the fact that I am able to do it at all feels a little bit like a miracle. It's almost embarrassing to admit that I am past mid-life and I have just discovered how to really take care of myself.
All I have to do is go slow.