The Speed of Life
My post-pregnant belly is the consistency of warm jello. So a few weeks ago I started attending physical therapy in order to strengthen my stomach muscles.
And every day now, after I exercise, I lie down and do the muscle-tightening exercise the PT prescribed for me. The funny thing is that nobody aside from me would even be able to notice that I’m doing anything at all. To all the other gym-goers, it probably looks like I have simply fallen asleep on the inch-high, navy gym mat. Only I know that I am definitely not asleep; in fact I am hard at work.
Which has gotten me thinking about all the work we do inside ourselves that nobody else can see.
This past Elul, as part of Rabbi Nivin’s Personal Development Chabura, I came up with my two primary goals for this year.
1. To post content on JewishMOM.com that comes from and touches my heart, and to help my readers be happier mothers.
2. To remain relaxed, happy, and healthy post-partum.
A few weeks ago I discovered something interesting: when I slow down and manage to “remain relaxed, happy, and healthy post-partum” then from-the-heart posts appear effortlessly in my mind, like pop-tarts jumping out of a toaster.
In other words, when I achieve my second goal the first goal follows naturally, like a newborn twin sliding out after her sister.
But for me, one of the hardest things in the world to do is to just slow down sufficiently to feel “relaxed, happy, and healthy.”
I have a tendency to get all sped up in a race to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish. When I’m in this mode, I eat standing up (I guess a really stupid part of my brain believes this will enable me to eat more quickly), I say my after-blessings while running out the door or from room to room, and I rush around the internet with cello-string shoulder muscles frantically trying to find something to post about that day before my kids’ 1:20 pick-up time. And this Indy 500 accomplish, accomplish, accomplish mode, I have realized, results in my accomplishing very little.
My teacher Rabbi Nivin explains it this way: you know when you have too many programs open on your computer, and it gets real slow, like honey from the freezer? Well, that’s our minds when we are stressed out and rushing around. But if you and I manage to stop, and calm down, and click shut the zillion and one windows that we have open, then our hard drives automatically speed up. When we slow down to what Rabbi Nivin calls “The Speed of Life” these computers inside our skulls function so much more quickly and smoothly.
When I force myself to slow down… and take the time to pick up a container of cottage cheese on the way home from my nursery-school drop-offs, and take the time to shmooze with another JewishMOM about her ADD son in the changing room at the gym, and even take the time to lie down until I am fully rested before I start writing, then the heartfelt ideas for my blog fall on me out of nowhere, like snowflakes on my nose.
It’s like when I am lying on that inch-high navy gym mat. It looks like I’m sleeping, but I’m actually fixing what most needs to be fixed, deep down, far from human eyes, within my heart and soul.