Going The Speed of the Body

On many mornings in the last few years, I’ve experienced the luxury of waking up when my body feels ready. On those mornings, instead of being jarred awake by the alarm clock, jumping out of bed and into the shower, and sailing out the door with my breakfast still in my hand, I move slowly, incrementally into a wakeful state. I roll over gently and face the view of sun or clouds coming through the window. I take the time to remember my dreams, and look forward to what challenges and opportunities the day may bring.

Looking back on the tempo of my life, it has been more often, the “hit the ground running and don’t stop till you drop” version of reality. Once when I worked on a college campus I became concerned about my tendency to arrive late for meetings that were scheduled across campus.  In attempting to break this habit, I asked myself – what could be the function of not leaving my office until it was nearly time to arrive at the next place? The answer I came up with – it was a sure way of getting exercise since I had to literally sprint across the campus to arrive even close to the agreed upon time. And such a practice worked better than a cup of coffee to insure I was awake and lively for the meeting once I arrived.

After making this discovery, I decided to make other arrangements to get exercise. A dance class was a more enjoyable way to exercise, and if I chose to run across campus, I could do so without using the threat of being late to motivate myself. That discovery has stayed with me through the years as I notice and catch myself when I am not going the speed of my body, when I am putting myself under unnecessary stress and strain.

And this intention to go the speed of the body is helpful with another tendency I have in my greediness for life -over scheduling.  The body needs time for recovery from tasks and events and I sometimes forget to figure that into my calculations on my calendar.  Attempting to do too much in too short of time makes it difficult to enjoy each event. Nothing takes the pleasure out of the day any faster than an unrealistic time line. They don’t call them deadlines for nothing.

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