Recently, I’ve been paying attention to how and when I’m rushing. This could include a relatively impetuous moment during speech, overly hasty brushing of my teeth, or hurried and somewhat careless driving around Portland. I can even find myself rushing in my practice. It’s easy to get swept up into the hustle and bustle of our society, which is a shame, because this haste can harm our health and our relationships. A sense of constant urgency can wreak havoc on our nervous systems, creating a potentially never-ending state of stress.
We live in a culture that rewards, even exploits, working to a point of exhaustion. Additionally, no matter how much we may strain, we’re frequently encouraged to work even harder. Working longer hours is valued over taking care of ourselves and our families. As a result of its prevalence, contradicting this behavioral norm can be met with some resistance, on our part, and from others. When I started challenging myself to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n, I was faced with a lot of doubt and quandary.
Regardless, I’ve found much usefulness and some quenching relief from my attempts to adopt a calmer, non-urgent way of living. Certainly, there ARE times when we all experience the need to rush, in order to meet a deadline, but I would challenge you to be mindful of how often this necessity truly arises. I often find myself hurrying when I don’t actually need to be rushing. When I realize I’m moving too quickly, I repeat to myself, “All is well … All will be well”. This is a mantra that my teacher, Sarahjoy, encourages us to use frequently. I silently repeat “All is well”, on the inhale, and, “All will be well”, on the exhale. When I first started using this mantra I could see its potential, but didn’t fully understand how it would help me. Then, the more I put it into practice, it started sinking into places beyond the intellectual surface. I actually started to BELIEVE it. I see this practice, and mantra, as my medicine, and it IS working.
Believing “all is well” doesn’t negate the fact that you might be going through some rough stuff at any single moment. The message of the mantra is not to solve all of your problems, but to help you recognize that you are resilient and adaptable, and that you CAN meet adversity. The next time you realize that you are unnecessarily rushing around, take a deep inhale, followed by a long exhale, and repeat the before-mentioned mantra. May we all come back to being right here, right now, and know … that all is well.