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Everyone’s In A Hurry

16 June 2009 No Comment

Is it just me, or do most people seem to be in a hurry these day? Rushing to get up in the morning? Rushing to get to work? Rushing to get things done? Rushing to get home? Rush, rush, rush!

I guess I’ve long been aware of it, but I really noticed it the other evening on the way to a meeting. I like to walk or take public transport where I can, so the trip was around 20 minutes on the metro and another 30 minutes walk along a couple of busy city streets.

Destinations and journeys

I always aim to be on time (not that I succeed!) but this day I was a few minutes behind schedule and noticed this impulse to hurry. For a moment my step quickened and with it my heart beat and stress level as I concentrated on checking the time and calculating how late I would be (about 5 minutes!!!).

The cars were all frantically trying to get places fast. Driving too fast and close together, cutting each other up, changing lane to get a slight advantage and generally acting as though each one had more right to the road than anyone else. Watching this, I wondered what that was all about.

Why put so much energy and tension into getting some place a few minutes faster?

The irony of this question, of course, was that I was doing exactly the same thing.

I was so focused on getting where I wanted to be, I completely forgot to enjoy the walk. Realising this, I slowed down and while there weren’t any roses to smell, I did start to look for the beauty around me.

On a busy street in the middle of the city, you have to search a little to find beauty. Once I’d stopped worrying, it didn’t take much effort to appreciate the smell of cooking from an Italian restaurant. To hear the birds by the roadside. To see the expressions on the faces of those I passed. Even to marvel at the human ingenuity that created this city – the buildings, the streets, the lights and even the cars.

At one point I passed a construction site. Growing just inside the fence, next to the building materials was a small clump of poppies. I find something magical about these flowers and they always bring a smile to my face. There’s something about their delicacy and fragility combined with their strength and adaptability. They always seem to grow where nothing else wants to.

I would surely have missed them on any other day.

It’s all in the mind

Interestingly I didn’t have to slow my pace much to notice the sights on this short trip. All I had to do was slow my thinking, look around and NOTICE.

Rushing is in the mind, not in how fast we do things.

The lyrics of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The 59th Bridge Street Song‘ sum up what I wanted to say:

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo,
Feelin’ groovy.

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, i love you,
All is groovy.

And I got to my meeting a very relaxed 5 minutes late.

I was the first one to arrive.

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