For fast relief…

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”  (Lily Tomlin) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Mary Jean “Lily” Tomlin is a Detroit-born American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. She has been a major force in American comedy since the late 1960s, when she began a career as a stand-up comedian and became a featured performer on television’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She went on to appears in many movies and on several TV shows. For a person as busy as Lily was and is still, I suspect that the insight that she shared in today’s quote was important to maintaining her balance in life.

It is obvious to all that we live in a much faster-paced world today than existed just a couple of decades ago. We are ubiquitously “connected” almost all of the time and for some that constant since of urgency to react and respond has only added to the pace. For many our need to service our devices seems to have taken over life. The constant need to share the information “where are you?” and “what are you doing?” has actually become more important to some than the reality of where reading newspaperthey are and what they are supposed to be doing (and with whom).

Many older means of communication or information sharing, like letter writing or reading a newspaper have been supplanted by faster, electronic versions, many of them summarized down to a sound bite or a paragraph or two. The music industry was turned on its ear by the rise of music file sharing on our devices, with the result that release and sales of traditional albums is almost dead. Sales of physical musical products, like CDs, have plummeted and many performers eschew agents and recording deals altogether and release their songs directly to the public on-line. All of these things have added to the sense of urgency and speed in put everyday lives and caused us all to become a little overwhelmed by the perceived need to keep up.

I’ve written before about one little respite that I find helps me and that is slowing down and sitting on my front porch for a while. Porch sitting is a lost art for most, mainly because large front porches that one could sit on fell out of favor with builders. I happen to live in a historic home that has a very large, wrap-around front porch that is screened in. I can sit out there without being bothered by bugs and watch as people walk by (I was tempted to use the term “stroll by”, but no one seems to have the time to just stroll anymore either). Admittedly a nice glass of wine makes the experience all the more enjoyable.  That is my way of slowing down and getting fast relief.

So, what do you do to find a break from the pace of life? If you don’t have a big front porch to sit on, maybe you have a deck or patio or maybe just a quiet room somewhere in your house that you can “retreat” to. You need to have a refuge somewhere. You need to be able to put down the phone for a nap at workwhile and kick back and just relax. Turning off the phone is even better, but that causes anxiety for many.  For some a nap in the middle of the day may be the answer. That is certainly one sure way to slow down for  a few moments. I’ve done that occasionally and even a short nap of 10-15 minutes is very refreshing. Surprisingly, the world seemed able to function and go on without me for that time.

One must at some point choose just how fast they are going to try to live their life and how much effort to put into “keeping up” with everything that might be going on around them. One could do well to heed the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, – “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” He might well have gone on to say that her reward is longevity.

So, have a great day, but take a few moments, maybe several times during the day, hop off the treadmill of life to slow down and be at peace. The world will go on and you can hop back on at the next stop.

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