We are driving to Sydney and the year has ended and the up-close world blurs past us either side of the highway. Through the window, I cast my eyes farther and the far-off world of mountain and skyline remain composed and consistent. But up here, that which is closest to the car, she streams out of shape and composure. I can no longer see her detail.
This past year feels the same. All rushed. All speed. The world out before me, farther away, my purpose and direction, it remains composed. That which I head for stands sure and secure. But the everyday realities of my close-world it is blurred through the tempo that I strive to keep up. That which is closest to me loses shape in the pace. I cannot see the detail. Those who are closest to me, those loved ones in my life, they slide past so near this car that I miss them. Do not see them properly. The familiar becomes unfamiliar.
Until I choose to slow down.
I choose to slow down.
New Years is often the time we look far out ahead. Remind ourselves of the direction and the purpose. But this year, perhaps this year should not be about looking far ahead, but instead, to look around at the life all about you. To remind yourself of the everyday reality. To see the detail. To give yourself to the moment. To the closeness. To the close ones. Remind yourself of what is important. Of who is important. To name that which lost its shape in your rush this past year. To begin once more to map out its detail. To allow your eyes to turn inside even.
For there are moments, such few and far between moments, when we let the outer world of progress and distraction slow down enough that we may catch a glimpse of our inner world. To delve into the deep place inside. To listen to the heart and its stilted, shy language.
Such moments, such few and far between moments, perhaps it is that they scare us, or we would not give ourselves so thoroughly to the ignoring of them. To the running from them.
I know I do. Run that is. Keep busy. Live life at a grand pace and the blur all around me.
Yet, I am learning to purposely place in my life some realities that slow this car down.
As a writer, every time I write I am too taking the inside journey. Every time I pick up the pen and throw myself down upon the paper I am not only opening a journal, I am opening myself. Holding myself open for a time that I might notice what has not been seen before.
This is the creative enterprise after all. It is the slowing down to find the poem that is waiting to be written. The painting that is calling. The creation beckoning. It is the naming of what we have all missed due to our pace. It is the choosing to then give oneself to its giving, to its forming, to the slow work of brushstroke and pen stroke. The intentional choice toward vulnerability. To trust that what spills out onto the page will be received and held.
Friends. This too is the self-enterprise after all. This too is the self-journey. It is the slowing down to find the truth that your life is wanting to write. The blank canvas that is calling. It is the naming of what we have missed due to our pace. It is the choosing to then give oneself to its giving, to its forming, to the slow work of relationship and spiritual growth. The intentional choice toward vulnerability. To trust that what spills out into this world will be received and held.
So we begin a new year, a new season, we thrust ourselves into one more turn around the sun. And each of us feels it, the itch, the slow turning that won’t stop, the desire. Each of us wanting to live a life that is worth something. That is full and brimming over. To take the menial realities and craft them into substance. To move out past the quagmire of regret and deprecation.
Look ahead certainly. Have you seen what your life might become? Have you known the freedom? Can you see the horizon world and the direction to head?
But please, please slow down enough that you may turn your eyes to those closest around you, to the everyday reality, to the menial. Find yourself in the moment. Find again who you are in the moment. For, as Paula D’Arcy states, ‘God comes to you disguised as your life.’ Do not miss God in the everyday.
And please, please slow down enough that you may turn your eyes inward. To listen. To name. To map out the inner life and its mountains and its valleys and its pitfalls and its dark forests. Write it down. Take your inner world and map it out. Paint it out. Sail away on the inside and find the uncharted and the shadow and the wonder and the beauty that all reside there.
Happy New Year friends.
A happy, slow New Years to you. May you sense the sacred in all the small ways that too often blur past you. May you look into the eyes of loved ones and forgotten ones and remember. May you turn your faces to the light. May you pick up a pen. Pick up a brush. May you have the courage to look inside and sail forth on what you find there.
Blessings and much blessings.