Speed is some guy running through the airport shouting into a cell phone. Pace is going around the block with a three-year-old and noticing everything the child is noticing.
- Christina Baldwin, The Seven Whispers
I may not be running through an airport, but I feel like I have been running on life's treadmill the past two weeks. The pace of my work life has accelerated, some due to good things happening. Nonetheless, I feel harried and stressed, and earned a speeding ticket for my own inability to create a pace that works better for me.
To move at the pace of guidance is Baldwin's second whisper of seven whispers. The first I addressed in Making Room to Hear Wisdom. The remaining five whispers are: Practice certainty of purpose; Surrender to surprise; Ask for what you need and offer what you can; Love the folks in front of you; Return to the world.
Technology makes things work faster, and we've grown to expect and desire that. We've learned to adapt to speed. We can drink coffee and text at the same time. But somewhere along the line, we've become the servant to speed, rather than determining how speed will serve us.
Baldwin notes that "Speed tends to cancel out guidance." Ego steps in as speed pushes Spirit out. I know that when I do that, my will takes over and I go into my "make it happen" mode, which requires a "push" energy. Definitely more exhausting, (adrenaline wears me out), not to mention that I'm less able to work with the forces of the Universe on my own behalf.
I look back on my previous career in life coaching, where I had control of my schedule, and regularly practiced some form of stillness and centering. I routinely tapped into guidance.
Fast forward a few years to a career change - to a business in real estate investing. I have less control of my schedule. This business is very "response oriented." When the phone rings, I can make money, so it's important to get the phone to ring, and to respond promptly to calls. My people skills, honed over the past 30 years, come in handy. Now I need to return to the practices that can help me adjust the pace I bring to the moment.
Recall the famous one-liner - "If you build it, they will come," in the movie, Field of Dreams. Baldwin encourages us in a similar way - " . . . if you have a sacred place and use it, something will happen."
I am herby declaring that I will practice a few minutes of silence/stillness first thing in the morning. The egg timer will be on my nightstand. My initial aim is not to solicit guidance. I just want to practice quieting my thoughts. If I can slow down my thoughts, and allow my observer to take over, I can rein in the speed of my life to a more manageable pace. Then Spirit has a chance to get a word in.
Once I can slip into a centering mode more easily, I can resume my automatic writing, a practice I did regularly over the last decade. It's as simple as lighting a candle, getting centered, and asking a question, then writing or typing out the answer as guidance comes through.
Baldwin reminds us that "listening to the voice of guidance is not a one-time, okay-now-I-got-it, don't-have-to-practice-it kind of skill." We are called to notice whose voice we are listening to in each moment. Our job is to let "the Divine blow in our faces and guide us home."
[Photo Credit: Ariel da Silva Parreira]