Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Snail's Pace and Presence

Earlier this morning as I sat on my patio having coffee, I noticed a snail slowly moving across the flagstone. I watched as it moved a short distance and then stopped as if it was being sure to take in all that was around it. After a few seconds, it moved on, repeating it's leisurely movement with no apparent guilt or stress in not getting somewhere by a certain time.

I found it amusing how this little creature that typically is referred to in a not so complimentary way, was currently captivating my attention. It made me think about how we humans rush more than we are slow and present. In our hurry to get to the next "thing", we miss the beauty of what is present right here, right now.

When I really think about it. I cannot honestly say there are many times where my fast pace is actually necessary. Perhaps my actions are simply trying to keep up with my fast moving thoughts. The good news is I have control over my thoughts.

So, when is it really necessary to rush to the next moment? I suppose if I was being chased by someone with a gun in his hand, that would be a good time to quickly move. If I was crossing a street and a big truck was speeding towards me, rushing would certainly be in order. If a shark was near me as I swam in the ocean, I would surely swim toward the shore as fast as I could.

What I'm noticing in these examples is that they all come from fear of harm, although the number of times I have actually been in danger of harm, requiring my rushing, have been slim.

The other fear, which is certainly more pervasive in all of our lives, is of failure. We believe that if we don't get enough done in a certain amount of time, we will fail. If we fail then we believe we are not valuable. I don't believe the snail slowly moving along the flagstone path has any fears of failure or of proving it's value. It just seems perfectly happy just to "be" present.

Perhaps reassessing the impact of potential failure will give me more clues about why I sometimes move so fast. So what if I fail? After all, it's not being eaten by a shark.

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