01 Apr Slowing Down
It was a cold sunny day in New Jersey and the first thin layers of ice were forming on our pond. We were scheduled to go to Pilates that day, our private exercise class with a trainer, but we liked doing some cardio workout first. Usually, weather permitting, we would take a walk through town before our class.
Even with the sun out the cold was not appealing, so we opted for a more rigorous half-hour of exercise on our treadmill and elliptical machines. Here is what happened:
First, I noticed that I was watching the clock: Uhh-Oh, trying to get it over with… You know… What you resist persists and takes lonnngger. I mentioned to Shya that I was clock watching and we began to chat which took our thoughts away from the time. As we moved along, joked and sweated, I came to realize that something had been bothering me since the day before. I had made a couple of mistakes in the last few days. Not big ones, just a red flag that something in me was not quite as crisp as I would have liked. I was not operating from the bull’s eye of my own personal center.
I mentioned it to Shya. I told him the little details that were plaguing my thoughts. Here is what he had to say: “Ariel, slow down. Just a little bit. You are trying to do too much, too fast.”
And that was that. We finished our workout at home and then went to work out with our trainer. Class was fun. I didn’t try to get it over with. I exercised to the best of my ability and we joked with the trainer (and continued to sweat).
On the way home I felt my body rest back against the seat. I took time to look out the windows. I watched the trucks and cars in the lanes next to us. And then, as we took our exit off Route 78, I gazed out my window and saw a majestic creature walking down the edge of the nearby service road. It was a male ring-necked pheasant, a stately bird, roughly the size of a rooster.
“Oh, Shya, a beautiful pheasant! Don’t go home – turn right. You have to see it!”
Shya made a right, gliding our car to a stop near the most beautiful pheasant I had ever seen. He sported long tail feathers. His head, neck and chest were iridescent turquoise, green and cobalt blue with a patch of bright scarlet splashed around his eyes. I rolled down my window and we sat and looked at him and he looked at us. Then he took his time strolling away into a nearby field.
Shya and I simultaneously reached out and took one another’s hand. Sometimes simple things, little moments are so profound. It was as if this bird had given us a gift by allowing us to fill our hearts with his image and essence. He wasn’t hurrying off to get something done. He seemed to be saying, “Don’t worry. No need to hurry. Everything you need to do today can be accomplished and you can do so with elegance and grace.”
Taking your time and being where you are is certainly a blessing. Not only do you get to witness and enjoy life in all its glory, oddly enough, you get more done.
I was reminded once again of something important that day: Sometimes you need to speed up to fully engage and at other times, you need to slow down.