Jack Johnson sings, “I hope this old train breaks down, Then I could take a walk around, And see what there is to see, And time is just a melody, All the people in the street, Walk as fast as their feet can take them, I just roll through town, And though my windows got a view, The frame I’m looking through, Seems to have no concern for now, So for now, I need this Old train to breakdown Oh please just Let me please breakdown.”
Why are we always in such a hurry, racing around like chickens with our heads cut off? You know the feeling… preoccupied, frenzied, rushed; moving so fast that everything is blurry and you lose sight of what’s real, what’s important. Life has become so busy, the pace dramatically accelerated. We are an overplanned, overcommitted and overwhelmed lot. And what’s the byproduct of all this productivity? More stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. In the midst of trying to do too many things, our attention divided and scattered, we end up living through nothing fully. We end up not being present for our lives or the reality unfolding in front of us.
Often, when we are inconvenienced or delayed, when the “train breaks down”, we are really being asked to slow down and pay more attention to the now. We are being given an opportunity to take a breath, to look around, and actually experience this moment. It gives us a pause, a helpful interruption, to what is normally the fast-paced, endless chain-reaction of our daily to-do tasks and life events. Rather than continue to race ahead, banging our heads repeatedly against these interruptions, we can slow down and “see what there is to see.”
- Look to the natural world, to nature’s pace, for examples and reminders of living an unhurried life. The wave doesn’t hurry to reach the shore. The tree takes its time to grow. The turtle moves gradually and is at ease.
- Prioritize what’s important. Rather than thinking about, and doing, several things at once, choose the one thing that’s necessary to do right now and fully immerse yourself in it.
- Open your mind and your heart to the newness of life that comes from slowing down to each moment. Living this way, there is always something to learn, something to experience, something to appreciate and enjoy.