“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rushing to Reach the Stop Light

Maybe you’ve been involved in this type of situation. You’re driving along when the car behind you pulls out and passes you. They quickly drive by and you’re left in the dust, only to pull up behind them at the next stop light. I’ve noticed that this happens to me quite a bit lately. Maybe it happens to you too, or perhaps you’re the driver with the heavy foot. : ) I have certainly been that driver before, but lately I’ve slowed down, which has taught me a lesson about patience and focusing forward.

The more we try to push or force things or move forward haphazardly, the more resistance we experience and the more roadblocks or distractions we encounter. How frustrating does it feel when we’re in a hurry and we seem to hit all the red lights? And what goes through our minds as we’re impatiently waiting for the light to turn green? I’m going to be late or I need to do this or I should do that, which often leads to a chain reaction of thoughts about the past: Why did I say this? Or why didn’t I do that? And this negative stream of consciousness can have a profound impact on our mood for the rest of the day as well as our attitude, level of motivation and what we act on, how we handle our relationships, and the choices we make. In short, it can influence how our lives unfold their ultimate level of success.

But if we take our time, and consciously focus on what we’re doing, it’s less likely that our stops will feel like roadblocks and less likely that they will lead to diversions and prevent us from moving forward. They simply feel like pauses that make it much easier for us to regain our momentum. You know the classic story about the tortoise and the hare. In a race, the hare speeds along and is repeatedly interrupted and distracted and winds up losing to the tortoise who moves forward at a slow and steady pace. It’s the same in our lives. If we can steadily focus forward without being tempted by unnecessary distractions or moving too quickly, we will be far more effective, than if we operate with a “monkey mind”, darting between one task, idea, or goal to the next. Not only is this ineffective, I’ve found that it drains both mental and physical energy as well. And besides, in the case of our cars, it does a number on the brakes!

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