Orange the cat was already at my doorstep and meowing when I was ready to go outdoors early this morning. I greeted him and asked why he was early today. Orange trilled as I seated myself on the front stoop. He then curled up on my lap while purring. I gently stroked the short hairs between Orange’s ears while he flexed his forepaws into the left leg of my blue jeans. I thought to myself, “This is an ideal way to start a Monday.”
Eventually, Orange requested treats and casually meandered across the street to the next stop of his morning routine. I remained seated outdoors for maybe half-an-hour longer. The sky was mostly clear with a couple of medium size cumulus clouds floating eastwards–their bottoms reflecting the greenish-blue streetlights of the town. The breeze suddenly increased speed, bringing a slight chill. The air immediately felt and smelled clean and fresh. My across the street neighbor arrived home from his Post Office graveyard shift job and parked his pickup inside his garage. As the electric garage door slowly descended, my early morning spell vanished.
I walked back indoors for a coffee refill and to begin writing this blog post. I once again felt appreciation for life in this small city on the Great Plains of North America. During the past decade of retirement I’ve enjoyed an unhurried lifestyle. This relaxed sense of time is, itself, a type of wealth. I no longer need to trade my irreplaceable time on Earth for money. Who knows how much time remains in each of our lives? The time we have is more precious than gold. One of the benefits of slowing down is the opportunity to fully engage with life in a more mindful manner.
Speed is highly treasured in this modern world–the faster the better for commerce and communication. The faster the speed, the more impatient culture becomes. After a speed record is surpassed, we wonder how soon the new record will be broken. We can barely wait to find out. The laws of mechanics remind us that faster speeds cause things to wear out faster. What is rushed to completion will probably break down early. Whatever we work on hurriedly will degrade sooner because care was sacrificed in favor of expediency. For the most part, whatever people do for the short-term without due consideration for longevity is temporary and has little solid character.
Meanwhile, when we slow down and contemplate the solid reality of the Earth, we remember that eons have passed as the planet gradually evolved to the condition we currently have. By and large with certain cataclysmic exceptions, the Earth’s surface has unhurriedly changed and became hospitable for life to thrive.
Expediency and speed are certainly appropriate for many tasks we must complete–of that we can be sure. There is also the matter of balance to consider. Deliberate, mindful, unhurried contemplation and work allow us to fulfill long-lasting achievements with virtuous benefits. The most admired architectural treasures required a great amount of time to design and construct. The Pyramids of Giza were not slapped together overnight. Cambodia’s Angkor Wat wasn’t constructed in the span of a fortnight. These sites came about through dedicated patience and sustained effort. The careful intent was to build these structures to last through posterity.
Although we likely are not constructing Tibet’s Potala Palace, we do have personal visions and goals that have far-reaching implications. Our life’s work can be a series of skillful achievements. We learn how to develop our skills over time. In due time, we keep faith in ourselves and our vision. Although our goals may require great effort and time, patience is our ally.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Canadian journalist and best-selling writer, Carl Honoré. “Research has shown that time pressure leads to tunnel vision and that people think more creatively when they are calm, unhurried and free from stress and distractions. We all know this from experience.”
That is a wonderful description of an early morning encounter with a friendly cat.
Orange is quite the free spirit.
I had a cat that performed the kneading behavior. It is said to be related to nursing.
I’ve heard that too. The kitty, mini-massage feels nice though.
Slowed down a little today after reading this. How much better to view life this way. Thanks for enjoyable post. Steve