Linda: Many people live out their lives as though more is good, and faster is better. If they ever recover from being a rush-a-holic, life becomes much sweeter. This change isn’t easy. When there is a desire to linger in the bed in the morning before jumping up to start the day, there might be resistance from the rush-a-holic self. That taskmaster inside the mind yells, “Get up, don’t waste time, there is work to be done, don’t be lazy!”
When there is an impulse to go to bed early to unwind after a hectic day, the inner critic will accuse, “You’re weak!” insisting that we push ourselves to be productive until late at night. So many of us cram countless activities, conversations, appointments, phone calls, and errands into each day. And everyone around us seems to be dashing as fast or faster, competing as hard or harder, and we are all breathless.
If we are lucky, one day we will get some shocking news that will jolt us out of our rush-a-holic patterns. In the midst of a crisis, overnight everything changes. There is nothing like a life-threatening illness, the loss of someone we love, being downsized out of our job, or serious financial loss to force one to put things in perspective. Suddenly, all those things that had been so important seem trivial. Filling our lives with activities that kept us moving nonstop throughout the day no longer makes sense. Priorities drastically change as we lose much of the motivation that had driven us to accomplish and achieve. The crisis has built into it the opportunity to stop being a “human doing” and start living like a “human being,” more aware of what matters to us, of what our heart truly desired.
One of the first things we may notice is a longing for more intimacy with those we love and a feeling of sadness over not having it. Even though we may spend time with those that are important to us, the truth may be that we want more time and for that connection to be more meaningful. A crisis can change us like nothing else can, prompting us to carve out intimacy time more frequently than ever before. We might start with tiny micro-breaks during our workdays, and then go on to plan weekend retreats together and vacations, gifting ourselves with all those things that we may have longed for but rarely done before.
When we stop racing, we do whatever we need to do to slow down. While life in the fast lane may be exciting and stimulating, it does not necessarily promote intimate relationships. The mind travels at a faster speed than the heart. The connection that we seek with those we love requires a slower velocity. Thus, if we want or need to slow down, we must be willing to experience the anxiety and impatience that often accompanies such a change of pace. Slowing down, quieting down, and paying closer attention to our own feelings and needs, as well as those of others, will do more to restore health and well-being to our lives and our relationships than anything else we can do. While it may take a while to break the habit of “rush-a-holism,” once it is broken, our lives are permanently and positively transformed.