Just Rushing By

“You always look like you’re running from somewhere,” said a coworker as I rushed by.

“Well, I always am.”

I laughed as I said it. But if how we talk about time reflects and affects our relationship with time, then my response—which felt natural and true—is worthy of reflection.

I’ve done a lot of simplifying over the past three months. I’ve delegated tasks—the ones that had to get done but were total drains. I’ve abandoned practices that no longer seem worth the energy they require, like putting on makeup every day. I’ve cut social ties that were toxic, and stopped entertaining invites that were shallow.

My life is simple by most accounts; all I do right now is work at a job that I love and practice equanimity. Why, then, do I still end up rushing through most of the day? I rush to turn off the alarm at six o’clock. I rush to my meditation cushion. I sit still-ish for an hour-ish. But even during this brief repose, a hurried state of mind often keeps me focused on time, and how much of it is going by how quickly. Like everyone else, I’ve experienced some moments that seemed to last forever, when the past and future melted away and time didn’t matter, or even exist. But like (almost) everyone else, I’m usually experiencing only the linear, mechanical progression of time that seems to manage me more than I manage it.

At least I’m learning how to recognize that. At least I’m remembering to stop myself, more and more, in the midst of these panicky rushes, and just breathe. I can arrive on time without the rush. I can meet deadlines without the hurry. I’ve rarely, if ever, felt the need to hurry so that I could squeeze more out of life, or experience a more full and abundant life. It’s usually been so that I wouldn’t fail at something, fall behind my peers, or waste my time (and life) away. I don’t seem to rush towards things so much as I rush away from that fear of failure. Sure, it’s possible to maintain equanimity and be in a hurry, but the hurry itself is usually not necessary. It’s usually a choice.

Option A is to hurry through tasks as I keep running from something. Option B is to stay right here with breath and sensation as tasks come and tasks go. Only one offers reprieve from the struggle.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s