What happens when I slow down…

What happens when I slow down... by Keri Kettle
Photo credit:  Stacy de la Rosa

I was in line at the grocery store, sick as a dog, buying soup and feeling miserable.  As I was reading the headlines on the magazine rack, I noticed the line wasn’t moving and there had only been one person in front of me to begin with. I had purposely chosen this line because the dude ahead of me only had a few things, too.  He seemed like he would be done fast and I could get home and slurp my soup and cough loudly in private, instead of standing in the store all drippy, snorky and gross.

He and the cashier seemed like they knew each other, they were speaking really earnestly.  So, of course, I started eavesdropping – admittedly with the initial purpose of being able to give them both the “quit chatting and move it along” stink-eye at the appropriate moment in the conversation.

Then I heard him say, “since she passed away, I can’t figure out what to cook for myself”.  I looked down at the belt and saw he was buying a small stack of frozen dinners and a few pieces of fruit.  He went on to say that his wife could just open the fridge and make something with what she saw.  Now that she was gone, he was trying to eat healthy food and had come in to Whole Foods, thinking there would be healthy food here but couldn’t figure out what to do with any of the things he saw in the aisles.  He was asking if they offered cooking classes.  The cashier was trying to give him ideas of things he could make with limited cooking skills.  She was trying to explain what Pinterest is.  His confusion just got worse as she tried explain what “Pinning” is.  I decided to give them some time while I went back to skimming the headlines of the yoga magazines.  What exactly IS a vinyasa, anyway?

Sometimes my snooping habit of listening to conversations around comes in handy.  Sometimes being sick and slow to react is a blessing.  If I had been feeling more energetic, I might have tapped my foot or sighed loudly without first hearing why the purchase of a few sad, frozen dinners was taking so long.

We all feel so busy, so pressured to move just a little bit faster than is necessary.  When I move too fast, I fail to notice things.  I don’t notice the other humans around me.  I fail to hear the pain in the grieving man’s voice as he struggles to figure out life after the loss of his partner.  I overlook the needs of those around as I scurry from one task to the next.

On the days that I move a little more slowly, I am reminded that in slowing down I become more connected to the people around me, maybe I am even a little more kind.

My virus is fading now but I’m holding on to the lesson of slowness.  Slow food, slow love, slow beauty – the best things in life are savored, not rushed.  Soon I will have an inbox full of e-mails and a mile long “to-do” list to deal with, but I will also take with me the knowing that scurrying through my life is never the path to pleasure.  And I always choose pleasure.  I hope you do, too.

Please share your thoughts.