E-couragement: You Can Slow It Down…

March 5, 2012

“The most basic of all human needs is to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” Ralph Nichols

I took a bite of my lunch and listened intently to Tom Stevens, who was sitting across from me; it’s easy to pay attention to Tom. He spent years as a counselor before becoming a consultant, speaker, and presiding Mayor of Hillsborough, NC. His credentials are impressive, yet, for this occasion, his most important title was widower. Tom’s wife had died of cancer over 20 years ago. He reached out to me in an email one week after the death of my wife, Ivy. Meeting with him turned out to be the right decision as Tom said something that was nothing short of profound.

Driving to our lunch appointment I felt certain Tom could impart wisdom and help me through the most difficult experience in my life. I shared what I’d been doing since Ivy’s death—grief counseling, working out with my trainer, eating healthy, meeting for conversations with supportive friends, meditating, and visiting my massage therapist. Then, looking at Tom I sighed, “I know nothing I do will speed up this healing process.” After a slight pause Tom said, “Rich, you’re right. You can’t speed it up. You can slow it down.” A gap of silence loomed over that statement. I repeated it out loud, “I can’t speed it up…I can slow it down. That’s profound!” 

That brief interaction with Tom completely shifted my thinking. In order to navigate this process I’d focus on not slowing it down. I pondered all the ways to slow down the healing powers of grief. I could run from it, deny it, ignore it, busy myself and become distracted, drown it, etc. It seems the only way to not slow it down is to experience it. To show up each day and feel it. As the Buddha might say, sit with it and make friends with it allowing grief to do its work within me.

Let’s consider how this concept relates to other areas of life. Certain life responses will slow down our own growth and development process. We might find ourselves running from or denying a dream of unleashing a specific talent or ability. Sometimes we may ignore the affirmation of trusted friends who see untapped potential inside of us. We can choose to be so busy that we distract ourselves from the intuitive and guiding voice within. Like the grief process, your ability to live and work intentionally can be slowed down. Be present, available, and fully engaged with your life journey and let it have its way with you.

How are you preventing “slow down’s” in your personal/ professional life? Leave your comments.

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12 Responses to “E-couragement: You Can Slow It Down…”

  1. […] Stevens impacts people. I say that from firsthand experience. My March 6 E-couragement demonstrates the kind of person Tom is. Tom did not stumble upon the qualities, traits, and skills […]

  2. I love this Rich. Thank you for sharing. Too often we (I) miss life experiences, opportunity for growth or just the joy in each day because we’re constantly in motion. Continued prayers for you as you continue along your journey.

  3. Good to hear from you Tracey (go Spartans). Appreciate your kind words. Let’s slow down and feel/experience the journey.

  4. Amen! Thank you, as always, gained something from your share.

  5. Rich,
    As usual… very thoughtful, insightful, and so clearly expressed. Thanks for sharing some of your moving journey. I can tell that I’m going to have some of your comments on my mind for days.

  6. @ Maureen and Bill: Appreciate your comments. Glad the E-couragement provides value for you guys. Thanks for who you are and for reading my blog!

  7. Rich, great message. And yes, profound.

    Thanks for sharing yourself freely, openly and honestly.

    It takes time.

    And, you have the support.

  8. Thank you Nigel. Appreciate you sharing this message through your technology “channels.” That means a lot to me. Have a great day friend.

  9. Thanks Rich. You mentioned this to me earlier. I am very visual so seeing it really caused me to ponder all the ways I fear grief and run from it thus slowing the process down. I suppose like many folks I do this because I am afraid I would drown in it. Years of this certainly slows the process down and can make us numb to all feelings. It is through feeling the pain that we heal.

  10. Thank you Julie (my prayer chaplain). Yes, it’s in feeling the loss that we heal from it. We’re conditioned to run/hide from pain, so it takes a real awareness to sit with it. Appreciate you my friend.

  11. My deepest sympathy to you and your family, Rich. Thank you for sharing the worth of taking the time to appreciate the blessings that you had together, to celebrate them in your grief, and keep them always in your heart. In today’s fast paced lives, so often we do ourselves and others an injustice by not taking time to experience the “joys” of the grieving process. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. Thank you Lee. I appreciate your encouraging words and the opportunity to be in your thoughts and prayers. Peace friend.

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