Checking In On My Word For The Year … Slowly

Spider and Web with Dew, copyright Joan Z. Rough, 1984

It has become my custom at the end of each year to pick a word that I choose to work with for the coming year.  For 2010 I chose the word Open.  Simply carrying the intention of trying to open myself up was amazing. Whenever I felt the slightest urge to back away from something that was being offered to me, I remembered my word and went for it.  I’m still working with being open.  I believe it is something I’ll carry along with me for the rest of my life.

This past New Year I chose the word Slowly. The reason being that I’ve always done things too quickly. I’ve been a type A kind of person, easily getting impatient and frustrated with the slow pokes of the world who take too much time making decisions, lingering at stop lights and simply getting in my Speedy Gonzales way. I believed I had to do everything right now, perfectly and completely.  I hated stopping in the middle of things and might easily continue working in the garden for instance, with my back killing me and getting worse by the minute, just because it all has to be done NOW.

The past year was full of hurry, hurry, quick, quick.  We bought and moved into a new house in the midst of an already chaotic life.  I felt overwhelmed, exhausted and at times brain-dead.  I’ve moved many times throughout my life and have happily survived it all.  When I was kid I lived in 3 different houses and went to 3 different schools in one year.  Last year’s move seemed like the worst and as I sit here writing, I have no intention of moving again.  When it’s time for me to go, somebody will have to carry me out.  At least that’s my story right now.  I’m also known to be one who loves to rock the boat and move on to something else.

So, I figured the least that I could do to ease my way through life was to slow down.  I made my word choice in late December with no second thoughts, wrote about it here, then merrily went on my way.  I haven’t thought about it much until recently when I suddenly discovered that, wow, I am slowing down.

I’ve been taking the opportunity to be grateful for inconveniences that seem to slow my pace, frequently finding those few minutes of waiting a great time to take a few deep breaths and notice beautiful things going on around me … like the way early morning dew clings to a spider web, glistening in a newly rising sun.  This past Easter Sunday, I pulled a muscle in my back while planting perennials in my garden.  I stopped and did some stretching, leaving many other plants waiting for my attention.  Some are still waiting as I’ve taken the time to plant just a few at a time.  They are alive and well and I’ve had the chance to rethink my garden plan.  And my back is so much better.

Today, I started writing this piece at 11:15 AM and happily took the time for a leisurely lunch and a poke around the garden before coming back to it.  As I sit here finishing this bit of writing, I hear song birds singing their heart’s out, savor the cool breeze coming through my open window and wonder why it’s taken me so long to find this quiet place of being.

Are you a speedy type?  What’s the rush?

My Turtle Friend, Copyright Joan Z. Rough, 2004

This entry was posted in Navigating Through Life, wonderings. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Checking In On My Word For The Year … Slowly

  1. Virginia says:

    Joan,
    I appreciate the fact that you shared a link to this post in the Taos Writers Retreat Friends group and that I happened to see it there earlier this morning. I keep meaning to open Google Reader to see what you and others are doing, but don’t seem to get around to it with any regularity. I’m moving rather S L O W L Y myself these days and reading this made me feel better about my pace. In addition, you’ve prompted me to reconsider where I am with the word I chose for 2011 … ‘connections’ … and perhaps I’ll share on the topic when next I write at Giraffe Journal. I love the two photos … of the spider and the tortoise 😉
    Hugs and blessings,

  2. Virginia says:

    ooops … I see it’s actually a turtle 😉

  3. Clara says:

    This is a lovely post, Joan. As a recovering Type A, I take it to heart. I, too, pick a word/words of the year and “slowly” would never have dawned on me. And it’s for that reason that it’s such a powerful choice. You’ve given me something to think about.

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