Why is Slowing Down so Difficult??

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I’ve always done everything fast.  I make decisions fast.  I eat fast.  I dress fast.  I shower fast.  I even speak fast.  You had to be fast to “survive” in my home.  Being the youngest in a large Italian, Greek family – if you wanted to eat, be heard, or get a warm shower – it all had to be done fast.  I dress fast because I was a dancer for many years.  Those quick changes between pieces and acts were a testimonial to quickness under pressure!  It doesn’t help matters that I am passionate and opinionated.  If I am excited about a venture, I jump in with both feet – into the deep end – without much consideration.  This can be a good thing, it can also have some very negative consequences!

As I passed from my 20’s to my 30’s and my 30’s to my 40’s, I realized that doing everything fast wasn’t always the best policy.  In fact, it got me in quite a bit of trouble at times.  It also created anxiety and chaos that I began to tire of.  My ex-husband used to say that we are human “beings” not human “doings”.  I love to do.  I am a very good doer.  I am not very good at “being”.  You must slow down to actually “be”.  Impulsivity should have been my middle name.  The problem with impulsivity is that you don’t use filters and can’t maintain boundaries.  What you think, you say.  What you think, you do.  You can just imagine the trouble I would get myself into.  I can say that in the last 10 years I have learned to slow down some….but I still have a long way to go!  Why is it so difficult to slow down?? 

To slow down means that you sit with yourself.  Have quiet time.  Feel your body and feel your emotions.  It means being in those uncomfortable places feeling those uncomfortable feelings.  And, instead of “doing” something with them, just allowing them to “be”.  To slow down means that you pause before speaking and consider before doing.  It might mean doing some research and asking questions before acting.  It means allowing the mental filter to engage before speaking out of turn or asking yourself the important questions:  “Do they need to have this information?  Will this information hurt their feelings?  Can I say this another way?  Or, do I keep my mouth shut in this moment?”

There is excitement in going fast.  I get carried away with the momentum – spend lots of money, make a small project even bigger, more is better, right?  There is productivity in going fast.  There is passion in going fast.  There is immediate gratification in going fast.  There is also a desperation in going fast.  If I don’t go fast, I’ll get distracted.  If I don’t go fast, it won’t get done.  If I don’t go fast, then I’ll chicken out (especially if it is around taking a risk)….I’ll get stuck.  I’ll get overwhelmed… 

There is also SHAME in going fast….Shame seems to follow my quickness and excitement.  For the nine things I do well, there is that 10th one that I screw up.  And, then, welcome to Shameville.  That place where your mind goes over every detail, and thinks:  “I should have said; I should have done; I could have said; I could have done…”  I used to push away my mistakes or get angry by validating my decisions.  Now I try to clean up my mess as best as I can.  The shame still persists, however, when I try to clean up my mess, and there is no forgiveness on the other side.  Let’s see if you can follow my logic here.  When I go fast, I am more impulsive.  Impulsivity leads to making mistakes.  When I make mistakes, I am ashamed that I messed up.  Apologizing brings shame. 

Welcome to either/or thinking.  Either I have to go FAST or SLOW.  How about all the stuff in between?  I can still get excited about the concept, but before I “do” anything about it, I decide to ask some questions, and do some research.  I can pause and not STOP before I speak, and take a few seconds to ask myself some important questions about how I want to answer.  This pause reflects my need to speak through my heart – telling the truth with compassion – or not speak at all.  I don’t have to look at every option.  I don’t have to do hours or months of research to make a good decision.  And, no matter what, I will make mistakes.  Why?  Because I am human and I have more lessons to learn.  However, I can take the shame and turn it around.  It takes a lot of courage to apologize and clean up a mess.  It takes integrity and honor to tell another you screwed up.  It takes intelligence to understand the lesson that’s in the mistake so that it doesn’t happen again.  It takes vulnerability, honesty, and a large heart to ask for forgiveness.  Why should I be ashamed of having courage, integrity, honor, intelligence, vulnerability, honesty, and a large heart?  These are qualities that I am PROUD of!

Slowness brings clarity.  Slowness can bring joy.  Slowness can help me make less mistakes.  Slowness can bring me to a more loving, heart-filled place.   I can still go fast if I choose.  But now I go fast not FAST.  Just like I go slow and not STOP.  I am looking to live in that more balanced place.  I am better at eating slowly, and savoring my food and wine.  I drive more slowly, even if I am late.  I try to make time to meditate, even if only for 5 minutes.  And I am continuing on my journey to find all of those sneaky places where shame lives in my soul.  The shame that prevents me from living the life that I deserve.  The life that is filled with joy and abundance. 

Love to you