Do you ever get the feeling that we are trying to rush towards some unclear, undefined and unimaginable finish line? That we have little (or no) idea about where or how to get to wherever it is we are going, but we are rushing headlong into the journey anyway? And that, in that rush, we are not paying enough attention to the consequences of our urgency?
When I was little, one of my family’s favourite sayings was (and still is), “Home, James, and don’t spare the horses!” whenever anyone wanted to get somewhere in a hurry. What we mean is, get us home as fast as possible without worrying about the toll that the speed of the journey will take.
I frequently find myself thinking about this sentiment during this strange and scary time.
Every time friends, family members or clients describe how they are pushing themselves to and past their limits in an attempt to “get things back to normal.”
Every time I see reports of people all over the world rushing back into behaviours that used to be normal but are no longer normal or even wise – or self-preserving.
Every time I catch myself trying to do too much, too quickly; perhaps in an attempt to make this particular journey pass by so quickly that the setting and background becomes blurred and vague.
Too much detail and too sharp a scrutiny is just too overwhelming for so many of us right now.
It is a completely normal and understandable response to want to sprint through discomfort in order to get out of it as quickly as possible. But when the route is a long and treacherous one, trying to get to the other side in a hurry is not such a great idea. As so many health experts have repeatedly told us, this Covid-19 ordeal is not going to be over in a hurry. As much as we want to race through it, we need to be honest with ourselves and pace ourselves and our energy so that we don’t run out of steam two-thirds, half, or even a quarter of the way into the route.
We need to slow down and take stock of our strength, energy and resilience levels. We need to make sure that we are monitoring ourselves so that, when we do reach the finish line, we are able to celebrate and enjoy it. We need look after ourselves and nurture every dimension of our lives – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and relational.
We need to spare our own metaphorical horses.
In the spirit of sparing my horses, I will be taking the last two weeks of July off to sleep late, stay warm and read lots of relaxing books with guaranteed happy endings. I’d love to hear what you are doing to pace yourself.