It isn't Always About Slowing Down
I couldn’t keep up with the words. A fast talker myself, I can usually acclimate to speed-talking. But as I sat in my car, waiting to start my drive, listening to one of my favorite podcasts race from the speakers to my ears, I wondered. Had something gone awry in the recording? This wasn’t how this podcast normally spoke, was it? It took a few moments but out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that there was a circle on my podcast app screen with a 2x inside.
I pressed the button. It changed to 1/2x and with it, the voice slowed to a crawl. I pressed it again. 1x. Hmmm. Even that sounded slow. One more press and I realized that the “normal voice” I’d been listening to over the last several months was actually 1.5 times faster. No wonder I’d finished podcast episodes that were listed for over 35 minutes, in much shorter morning walks with my puppy. And that day after school a while back when my daughter sat down and asked me why the podcaster was talking so fast – and I responded: “they are just fast talkers.”
Oops. She had noticed. Me, not so much.
Forget the fact that somehow I’d doubled the speed on that particular day, I’d been consuming hours and hours of information and thought leadership at rapid speeds. I clicked around to a few different podcasts. Sure enough, their 1x speed sounded slow.
I laughed. Because honestly, how had 1.5x become my go-to speed?
My first reaction was to question the message and learning opportunity behind this speed lesson. Where did I need to slow down? Where could I slow down more? Where there places that I was rushing through the pause and missing the information or understanding that lives in those in-between moments? I had to laugh because even traffic that morning moved at a standstill. It was as if the whole world was telling me to slow down.
Or not. What if it isn't always about slowing down?
Could it be that the there were multiple layers of invitation here? To consider where slowing down can offer more clarity? But also, to allow for the idea that perhaps there were places I could let myself speed up – or move with the flow, rather than artificially slowing things down?
Because yes. A lot of us would benefit from slowing down. Allowing ourselves to be more present in the moment rather than going through the motions or even forcing progress rather than letting it come with time. It could be as simple as spending a few moments to notice your breath. To notice the colors around you when you are in nature. To look up at the sky or feel your feet against the earth rather than rushing from one place to another.
And there is a big but here. I have to wonder. How many of us artificially slow ourselves down with (self-imposed) obstacles or hurdles to jump through before we can allow ourselves to feel or experience what we really want – whether it is in our body, in our work, or in our relationships?
The examples are everywhere around us.
Self-imposed timelines. Lists of mini-goals before you can even begin to consider the really big, wild goal that lights you up inside. Moving through layers of protocol and hierarchy instead of just doing THE thing.
I get it. I am a devotee of the “slow down to move fast” philosophy. Sometimes you do need to give ourselves time and patience. This is true in surfing. Slower motions allow you to tune into the wave. To feel the board underneath you and move with the energy rather than against it. Surfing isn’t a race to the shore. It is an opportunity to be alive and in the flow with the energy of the ocean.
What would it be like to believe that magic does happen, at rapid-fire speeds when you are aligned with your true selves? To believe that when you focus on being true to your values and our deeper sense of purpose – that the puzzle pieces start coming even when you aren’t looking?
Imagine you adopted the mindset "Of course this is my life. Because this is what happens when I show up as my true self and let things flow." instead of being shocked at the blossoming of your dreams right in front of you?
Maybe it is as simple as getting out of your own way. Or allowing yourself to fall or falter (or even fail) without the pressure of expecting a specific outcome. Maybe speeding up comes from a mindset of willingness, curiosity, and abundance. If it is true that what we focus on, grows – or as Lynne Twist offers, “What we appreciate, appreciates.” – then perhaps speeding up happens when we declutter the path forward by removing all of the shoulds or stories that we tell ourselves.
Maybe you can actually slow down to speed up by tuning in to what really matters about WHY, and the feeling that you want to feel, instead of focusing on the how or what.
Maybe there is room for both. For slowing down long enough to live our lives fully awake AND for speeding up to allow the flow of what wants to emerge because we are showing up with willingness rather than fear or judgment.