Oct2017: Life in the Fast Lane

by Brad on September 29, 2017

“A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.” – The Dalai Lama

It seems we’re always in such a rush – rushing to work, rushing at work, rushing from work, rushing to get errands and chores done, even rushing to create “quality time” in the midst of all the rushing. I often wonder, “Where are we going, anyway?” And because we rarely have an honest answer, this follow-up: “If we actually got to the place we’re rushing, what would we do the day after we arrived?” Mostly we haven’t a clue. Yet we’re still rushing to “get there,” unaware.

This idea rolls around in my head often, including reflection on my own journey. (For over 30 years, I was “rushing to nowhere.” I ate well but I was starving.) It’s likely no coincidence, then, that this topic came up three times this month, twice with clients and once with my older son. The distinction all made was the same – putting the race itself aside for a moment, life experience is far more positive when you’re “going somewhere” than when you’re “going nowhere.”

But what came from the depth of these conversations was fascinating. In order to know where you’re going, you need a very clear sense of your inner truth – i.e., what matters to you, and then choose to live from that truth. To do that, you have to look inward, which scares many people. A conclusion was this: perhaps rushing is a compensation strategy for the fear of self-reflection … as if rushing through life somehow offers hope for peace and happiness. Evidence says no.

Two of the conversations then went to a far bigger place. Basically, the idea was, “Hey, there’s no ‘there’ there. All of us end up at the same place. So peace and happiness must be about the way we live the journey, not where it leads. And it seems the best way to live the journey is to love the journey. Doing what we love most, we experience joy every day. Yes, there will still be challenges, yet the energy of your love will cause you to see them with curiosity, not dread.”

It’s time to question, and likely give up, the old, unconscious belief that going faster will get us there sooner, because 1) there’s no destination anyway, and 2) it’s the experience of living that brings us what we long for most. By racing all the time, we miss both of these. Here’s a specific example from clients years ago. Driven to get her college degree, she toiled her way through four years of study. Her experience of the process: stress. Her experience of the outcome: relief. Another client, by contrast, was driven to be a life-long learner. Her experience of the process: joy (of learning). Her experience of the outcome: three degrees, “easy by-products” of the process of love. Same school, same program.

Exercise: As Phil Cousineau consistently suggests in The Art of Pilgrimage, “Uncover what you long for and discover who you are.” You feel the energy of your inner essence many times a day, pointing to your truth, asking you to listen. It may be the smile on your face when something about life inspires. It may be the twinge you feel (and likely ignore) when you know something you’re in the middle of “just isn’t right.” You discover your truth by noticing – just what the little voices in your head tell you not to do! They think it’s scary to look inside, and they let you know. The problem, for you, is that you tend to listen to the voices and not your truth. If you believe it’s time to change that, here’s an exercise to help. The practice: Sit silently for 10-15 minutes each day; just listen. That’s it. Your truth is a pattern deep inside you With practice, you will hear it speak. You will learn to recognize its voice as you would that of a friend in a noisy room. With continued practice, you come to trust, then honor, your truth over all the useless unconscious chatter.

Life lessons from nature: Lao Tzu once said, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Turtles move more slowly than hummingbirds, yet there’s no competition. Some trees take hundreds of years to mature, yet there’s no race to be done. Rivers take millions of years to carve a canyon; yet the river isn’t angry, and rocks don’t fight back.

Book of the month: The Great Work of Your Life, A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling, by Stephen Cope. Through stories of those who’ve “been there” – Gandhi, Jane Goodall, Thoreau, Keats, Frost, Harriet Tubman … figures we know – Cope opens pathways to self-discovery that lead us to our true work in the world. Perhaps we know them precisely because they found and followed their true nature. Insight, practicality, depth, and an invitation to self-reflection. … And if you’re on Cape Cod, you’ll find this book at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons; 508-539-6985.


Download October 2017 pdf

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Radford September 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This is such an important message for me.


Pam Russell September 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Great newsletter, Brad.


Elaine M Johnson EMAIL September 30, 2017 at 7:26 am

Hi Brad,

This post is timely as it recalls the conversation we had on the ferry back from Nantucket and my query about why I was and still am compelled to rush. You are so right the ultimate end for all of us is the same. Life is the journey and I, for one, should slow down and enjoy the trip. Thank you for the reminder. Also, you suggested one of my all time fave books and authors Stephen Cope. I have longed to attend one of his special at Kripalu_so then, what’s stopping me?
Let me know when you want to once again discuss “the” cosmic questions. HA, hopefully before your next trip. Namaste, Elaine.


Arianna Alexsandra Collins September 30, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Brad, yes, I do have that strong sense of rushing. Below is a poem I wrote about this feeling…

The Shore
by Arianna Alexsandra Collins

I am forever going
rushing off to relax
forever heading off into the sunrise and never the sunset.
I am that cloud drifting by
fast enough that it seems to have some destination besides the sky.
I am the waves throwing themselves upon the shore
whose only thought was to get there and in doing so realized
there must be more.

In the movement, is there rest?
Is there peace in the breeze constantly blowing across the beach?
Does the wind sleep?

There is no quietness in my soul
no dawning hour hush before the birds wake the sun.
I am the birds’ song
cheerful and dissident
my thoughts singing in my mind without end.
I am the wind and the trees
blowing and being blown across time.

Copyright 2000, Arianna Alexsandra Collins


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