Slow down

It has been a confronting summer. I suddenly have to get used to the fact that my supply of energy is no longer inexhaustible. It seems I have to slow down.

I did not like the idea of slowing down at all. Since my early retirement in 2012, I have had so much fun teaching, learning, dancing, hiking, traveling, and exploring. And now my body has said STOP, in a very clear, not to be misunderstood, way.

My first reaction was to think, Oh no! There must be something wrong. Something that needs fixing. It took awhile to figure out that I might just need a change of pace. And I don’t have to immediately resign myself to “old age” simply because I can’t go at high speeds all the time.

Andrea Juhan, a wonderful dance teacher, uses the term Speed Limit during her Libido workshops. Some of us are very good at exceeding our own speed limits. Have you ever driven a car just a little too fast taking a curve and you realize you need to brake in order to make the curve? But you were having so much fun driving just a wee bit too fast. You exceeded your own (and the car’s) speed limit for that situation.

In relationships we often have difficulty with speed limits. One person wants to go fast and the other is still trying to feel their way into the relationship. Both have to stay true to their own needs. They need to find a delicate balance to stay together. If the individual speed limits are too far apart, this may just not work.

This morning I went dancing again (5Rhythms) for the first time in several months. I took things slowly, one step at a time, listening carefully to how far my body wanted to go and what it needed. At one point, we were asked to move with a partner. I had a young, bouncy partner who needed a lot of energetic movement. It was so tempting to let him pull me into his high tempo. So I consciously applied my own speed limit. Keeping in contact with my own body was more important than keeping in contact with my partner.

On the way home from the workshop, I resisted the temptation to drive fast, savoring the idea that slowing down does have its charms. Plenty of beautiful things to see along the way!

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