I'm very lucky. Out of my coaching studio window there is a sweeping view of the Hudson River and Riverside Park. I don't take it for granted, and often find myself gazing out at the changing sky and shifting waters during the course of a day. The impact on my clients' spirits and performance is marked as well; I and whoever has the 5, 6, 7 or 8pm slot- depending on the season- often pause to watch the sunset, grateful for and rejuvenated by the seconds of stillness and beauty.
I don't catch the sunrise as often as the set, but this morning, I was up and here as the day started to break. I rushed about, putting on a pot of coffee, turning off all the lights, and setting up my front-row, windowsill seat to catch the show, desperate not to miss a single moment.
And then time stopped.
Unlike so much in our modern lives, the sunrise- and indeed all of nature- is a molasses-slow show whose every moment is filled with more sensory information and nuance than what most of us consciously pay attention to in an entire day. The rapid-fire rate of television, internet, and radio programming are both cause and reflection of the manufactured pace of today's world, in which our mind and body clocks have been reset to permanent 'fast-forward'. Expecting and processing everything faster, faster, faster- and multi-tasking all the while- we feel more productive. We're living more, doing more, becoming more in the 'newer, faster, better' model. Chant with him now, the grand poo-bah of the speed-madness parade himself, Kanye West: "Work it harder! Make it better! Do it faster! Makes us stronger!"
But faster, faster, faster doesn't make us better or stronger. It makes us stressed out and stretched thin, less effective and disconnected.
I was rushing to catch the sunrise, racing about to 'get there in time', anxiously trying to get into the best possible position to see all that I could... only to be reminded that my gerbil-on-a-wheel act needed to stop before the show- and life- could really start.
An hour later, I was still there in the window, mind, body, and spirit mesmerized by the soaring birds, their changing tune, the shifting colors and dancing clouds. Focusing on nature, I was transported back to the rhythm of the earth... the natural and intended rhythm of life.
When the show was over, at that turtle-slow pace I started my morning, and have accomplished more already- creatively, peacefully, and powerfully- than I would normally in an entire day.
When was the last time your mind stilled, and you focused on one thing? Try it, and you'll be introduced to one of modern life's greatest ironies: doing so will make you more productive and efficient. What a novel idea... by quieting the mind, removing distractions, and releasing resistance, the entire world- and every possibility in it- becomes 'immediately' accessible.
Slow down, people. Slow down.