My hands were full of fall treasures after my morning walk ~ a heart-shaped leaf, a perfect acorn, and a few stems of pretty white wildflowers. I worked through my chores accompanied by soft jazz, stopping frequently to watch hummingbirds dance around our feeder.
I drove to town slowly enough to spy three deer and a chubby groundhog enjoying the afternoon. At the grocery store, I made way for shoppers frantically pushing their carts and invited a mother with a cranky toddler to go ahead of me in line.
I haven’t always moved through my day so leisurely or with such delightful awareness. Even after my children were grown and I was no longer teaching, I still found myself rushing. I walked, drove, talked, moved, and acted as if there was a sense of urgency, when there was none.
I had a hurry habit, a habit that isn’t merely a symptom of our fast-paced, modern world. It seems the want to rush has been a problem long before our time.
These words were written in the 1600s by Saint Francis de Sales, “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
A tortoise in Aesop’s fable taught us, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
One translation of Proverbs 19:2 reads, “Desire without knowledge is not good ~ how much more will hasty feet miss the way!”
My Symphony, a poem written by William Henry Channing in the late 1800s, reminds us, “Hurry never.”
Like Thoreau, we came to the woods to live more deliberately. Living closer to nature has helped me absorb its peaceful rhythm. I’ve discovered breaking the hurry habit can improve our lives in at least these five ways ~
1. More Beauty ~ The more we slow down, the more we notice nature’s beauty; the more we notice nature’s beauty, the more we slow down. No matter where we live, nature is waiting to help us pause in awe and wonder.
2. More Good-Feels ~ When I catch myself rushing, I can feel my heart race, my muscles tighten, and my breathing constrict. Right now, take a deep breath and relax your body from head to toe. Doesn’t that feel better?
3. More Pleasant Interactions ~ Being in a hurry can cause us to seem rude and self-centered. Slowing down makes us better able to be more compassionate, patient, and aware of others.
4. More Productivity ~ It may seem counter-intuitive, but hurrying doesn’t always help us get more done. In fact, rushing often results in mistakes, accidents, and bad decisions.
5. More Elegance ~ There’s nothing attractive about running around like a chicken with its head cut off. When we slow down, we can glide through our day with more grace and composure ~ like a swan.