“It is the pace of the race, not the need for speed.” The thought ran through my head as I took one more step into my fourth mile of my five-mile run this particular morning.
Be the turtle was all I could think as I wanted to pump up the notch that would lead me to speed. I wanted to start breathing hard, sweating bad and gasping for air; if I did not struggle, could it really be considered a work out? At the same time I knew better, I was looking to build more endurance not have a heartache. I needed to chuck my hare mentality out the doors of the gym and remember, “I am a turtle.”
It has not always been easy for me to slowdown, especially when I am engaged in something I enjoy. I also have the habit of trying to move quickly through tasks that should take more time such as listening, speaking and preparing. My hare mentality has away of kicking in and trying to speed through the process of life. The only problem with that, I usually end up with injuries. Whether they are mental, physical or spiritually pulled muscles, it will happen when I am in a hurry. The need for speed will leave me with a twisted ankle, distorted thinking or riffs in my relationships.
I remember years ago, driving home from an event, alone in my car, I felt a still quiet voice in my head telling me to “be the turtle.” My need for speed was not a very good example to those I had been leading as well as my young children who were watching. Back then I was always frantic moving from one activity to the next, dragging my family and friends along. I took pride in my to-do lists and all the activities I juggled. Yet, I was not a clown and my life was not a circus. I had an hour in traffic to practice my newfound calling. Embrace the pace; I knew most of my friends at the time would have encouraged me to ask myself, WWJD? Not I, “WWTTD?” That was more like it. What would the turtle do, not very spiritual, yet, it did help calm my spirit.
Slowing down took practice, it took being purposeful about the pace of my race. WWTTD meant changing the way I looked at life. The way I reacted and interacted with myself and everyone else. Embracing the turtle pace meant retiring the rabbit that lived deep inside of me, the rabbit that felt like if it did not keep up it would be left out. Practicing being the turtle during traffic took patients and faith that I would get to my destination that day but I was determined to follow the still voice that was leading my way.
One of the greatest gifts I received as I traded in my rabbit’s foot for my turtle shell was the gift of eye site. Even that day on the freeway, stuck in traffic, practicing my new found pace, I found peace. There were opportunities, people, places and things I had missed, passed me by when I was under the impression that the need for speed was the way to be. As I embraced the pace of the race, I experienced grace, the kind of grace that came when one choose to slow down. It was the kind of grace that came when one believed that the journey was more important than the destination.
I love to be the turtle. Today I will occasionally find myself triggered by past feelings. It is in those moments where I want to put on my running shoes, get in my sprinters stance and rush through the experience so I do not have to feel what is familiar. I want to let the hare pop its head out of the past and invite it into my future so I could speed through the moment. However, the good graceful turtle that took over many years ago has away of over powering the not so tough rabbit that wants to takeover.
Looking back over the years, I find myself thankful for the way the creator caught my attention on that busy traffic filled road many years ago. It was the start of something new and the end to something old. It was the moment when I realized that the pace of the race was greater then the need for speed.
Thank you for letting me share.