(I wrote this post almost three years ago just before moving from Texas to Florida. I'm posting it again today, April 23, 2017. These past few weeks I've experienced a similar hurried and "too-busy-to-live-life" pace. When that happens, I know that I'm running from something. (The something is called feelings.) For me, the feeling is often grief or loss, not necessarily a big or known one. When I'm aware I'm in this hustle, I'm grateful I notice, which means letting myself feel uncomfortable. Even hurt a bit. If I do, the feeling passes. Sometimes I discover the story behind it. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes, I already know the story and just ride its river, so to speak. Today, I work with letting go of whatever words arise, and just sit with what comes.)
I have a problem.
Even though I changed my pace while at retreat, I’m back to mindless quick-there’s-somewhere-to-go or something-to-do.
Gulping quickly chewed food. Walking fast. Getting “it” done. I even ran my grocery cart into the heels of a forgiving woman. After that I took a breath. Ten minutes later I entered a line for check out, backed out, and then backed out again.
Where oh where is patient, do-one-thing-at-a-time, take-it-slow, me?
The good: I noticed.
Others noticed too.
I recently paid $280 for doing two things at once. I was talking on a handheld cell phone while driving by my neighborhood elementary school.
(Fortunately I was only going 14 mph, or I might have had to take out a loan to pay my citation.) Multitasking, I was totally oblivious to obeying the law.
That was a few weeks ago.
Yesterday in a slowed-by-yoga saunter back to my car I had an insight about my hurriedness.
First, let me back up.
I’m moving from Texas to Florida. I’m heading to a place I call home and eagerly look forward to new experiences with my husband, and time with my daughter, son-in-law, their children, and family and friends. I also long for the water, sun, sugar-fine white sand, crystal light, and birding joy such as watching the scare tactic of “wing flinging” by wood storks in the back yard (it’s how they catch fish).
If I measure my delight about this move with a pendulum, give it a mighty and vigorous swing, and then watch that pendulum swing equally in the opposite direction to then have a measure of my feelings about letting go of all I like about being in Denton.
Though I live life as adventure and view home as wherever I place my head at night, I’m uncomfortable. Five years in Denton is long enough to fall in love with new friends.
So what does this have to do with hurry?
I realized I’m rushing to make time pass quickly and to slow other time down. Get it all done, stay busy busy. Or, hurry hurry to make more time.
Silly me. What illusion of control.
Hurrying doesn’t release the discomfort of being in between here and there.
Moving is in the realm of loss, positive though it is. And experiences of loss hold hands with other losses. That means that when I feel what comes up about leaving Denton, bits of past-loss come up. Death claims a child. Letting go of a terrific job, a home, a conservation group, a business. A marriage is over. A pet passes. A joyful experience ends. Health fails.
A wise teacher once told me that if a feeling is more than two on a scale of one-to-ten, then the feeling holds more than the current event that triggers it.
Sometimes it’s not easy to feel. My long held habits centered on a need to control, push away discomfort, stoically harden, mope, complain, woe, explain, or justify more easily rise up. However, each time I allow myself to feel, loss lessens.
Being here writing helps. I see a sign from the reliable guide of awareness. Hallelujah.
Hurry for me right now is a disguise as a need to feel grief and a nagging sense of unease.
I’ll be honest. My less-than-best self thinks there isn’t time for this grief stuff. I want to deny my feelings: “Hey, Susan—you intellectually know what’s going on (mind chatters), so now get on with packing or doing this or that. Feel good now that you thought it.”
Thinking and feeling are different.
Being emotionally open and free means letting go of thoughts like:
“I’m not that kind of person who feels like that.”
“I should be over it.”
“No one wants to hear about these feelings.”
“I don’t have a right to feel hurt; it isn’t fair to everyone else.”
“I’ll only open old wounds.”
Those thoughts deflect, suppress, and repress.
Emotional freedom is when one of Maurice Sendak’s wild things (Where the Wild Things Are) shows up to scare me, to scare me out of feeling. And instead of fleeing in fear, I join the rumpus.
I don’t need Max’s crown. I need to slow down, call on some ordinary courage, and feel.