Slooooww Doooowwn

ARE YOU SO WORN OUT that your fatigue is stumbling over your exhaustion? A good many years ago I read a little booklet by Charles E. Hummel called The Tyranny of the Urgent.* He described the frenzied effort so many of us make to “get it all done.”

Are you pushed, rushed, stressed, exhausted, hurried, harried, and frazzled? Are you living life on permanent fast-forward? Do you have a certifiable case of hurrymania? Are your days fueled with caffeine and adrenaline?

If so, might I suggest (and I’m preaching to myself here too….why do you think we writers write what we do?) that you take time to smell the roses before you’re surrounded by roses and flower arrangements you can’t smell—if you get my drift.

Check your Bible and see if it still has Mark 6:31 in there: “Come aside . . . and rest a while.” Could that be at least as important as “Thou shalt not kill”? In fact, there could be a link between those verses, if you think about it a little.

Sometimes I get to hammering the keyboard at warp speed (ask a Trekkie if you need the definition), and my heartbeat accelerates to keep pace. Then I turn on the magnificent peaceful background of Chuck Wild’s Liquid Mind meditation music, and I’m slowly carried away to a far more relaxed place. So what if I turn out 200 fewer words that day? I don’t want to end up one of those basket cases who needs therapy to recover from missing one section of a revolving door.

Years ago I heard one of Danish poet Piet Hein’s verses that he called “grooks.” This one seems apropos of this current post:

“Sometimes, exhausted with toil and endeavor,
I wish I could sleep forever and ever;
but then this reflection my longing allays;
I shall be doing it one of these days.”

Ah, yes. Soon enough, except for the second coming, we’ll each get our chance at a deep, quiet sleep—not forever (let us fervently hope) but at least until the wake-up trumpet. Still, I rather suspect that managing a little more sleep right now could well defer that more extended rest.

Sure, there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. Always will be. But can we be in danger of so much doing that we have no time for being?


*Hummel has expanded his original booklet into a full-length book entitled Freedom From Tyranny of the Urgent. Well worth obtaining:


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sharon Mary on June 21, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Thoughts well taken. Important stuff. Masterfully spoken! I often think some of these things when I see some older, obviously handicapped, or desperately poor soul trying to rush across in front of me – in fact, once in a while I’ve called out my car window and tried to ease their stress by greeting them and giving them a smile and wish for a blessed day. Life rushes by sooooo fast; I want to savor each minute that will be with me for short a moment and draw from it all the richness it holds. That may sound just poetic; it’s not. The entirety of our Life will one day be represented by a collection of brief moments in time that will tell the story of our most cherished motivations. Thank you for the suggestions on how to slow down and pay attention to what’s most important!


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