Be Unrushed.

Quite often the place we least want to be is where we currently are. This is, in part, because we are thinking about what we need to do in the future. If whatever is happening right now could just end, we could get on with things. This is a treadmill scenario, common in our default mode. 

The result is a disservice to the present moment. Whatever we are doing, or whoever we are with, will not receive our complete attention, so long as we feel we have something else to do. It doesn’t take long to see that this is an unfree way of being. We are shackled by the future – by things that haven’t yet occurred – to the detriment of the only thing we do have; our present experience. 

The feeling of some urgent demand on our time – real or perceived – creates tension in our relationships. It raises fraught questions including, “Whose time is more important?” or, “Why don’t they respect my time?” The concept of time autonomy is central here. One person’s autonomy quickly abuts another’s. Anyone who has ever been left waiting for someone else understands the anxiety and ill will that pervades. 

To be sure, there are scenarios when true urgency arises, when one must be fussed about moving on to other matters: medical triage, a child in trouble, danger lurking. But these are not our usual state. To free ourselves, to embrace the present, we need to be aware of the divide between things that quickly demand our attention, and everything else. Most often, the ‘everything else’ can wait. We don’t have to rush headlong into whatever just so happened to surface in our consciousness. The present moment deserves our attention. There is beauty within it that is easily missed. 

In exercising our time autonomy, however, we must not expect others to bend to our will. Simply because we decided to focus on something does not mean that someone else need do the same, let alone share the same level of caring. That is up to them. Just as we demand respect from others on how we choose to spend our time, so too should we respect their choice. This lesson comes home to roost for parents. 

Young children don’t understand this concept. They want things to happen right now, demanding their parents to drop everything and buy in. Parents are then confronted with a challenge, weighing whether the child’s demands are reasonable, realistic, urgent, versus whether they should supersede the parent’s own interests in the moment. Not an easy decision, and one many of us have fumbled countless times. Within this, though, there is an opportunity to learn and to teach. Being honest with ourselves and with others, along with open communication, will go a long way. 

Every day presents us with challenges like this. We overcome them and we grow. But we are best able to do so by heeding the present moment with the slowness it requires. We must do our best, in whatever we find ourselves doing, to be unrushed. 

Be well.

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