Non-Toxic Living: What’s the rush?

We rush about. I’m sure you’ve noticed it around town? Folks racing to a red light rather than letting a car go in front of them. Or someone butting into a conversation when a customer is already being served. The underlying sense is that everything must be done extremely urgently.  

We rush; it seems to be endemic. The definition of rush is to move with urgent haste.

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Someone wise once said: “If you don’t want to burn out, cease living your life like you are on fire!”

What is the rush? Do we achieve more while rushing? What do we do with the extra time we supposedly save by rushing?

While rushing we may not notice how our child can now spell more words than last week, or play the tune on their musical instrument that they struggled with a month ago. Our husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend may feel unloved as we rush about our day without really tuning into them or stopping to listen when they speak to us.    

Do we rush past the emptied dishwasher without saying thank you to our flatmate for emptying it? Do we rush past the man opening the door without a thanks? Do we rush past the bus signaling to leave the bus stop? Hint: it’s the law to let them into traffic!

Your dog will still love you even if you rush, but he will likely love it more if you sit on the floor of the kitchen, while the kettle is boiling, and stroke his soft fur for two minutes. It will do no end of good for you too.  

Rushing is a modern addiction and affliction. We rush to work, rush to get coffee, rush to the gondola, rush to get lunch, rush to eat lunch (while rushing to somewhere else), rush to the shops, rush to dinner, rush to bed and only then wonder why we can’t sleep.

If you have been a “rusher” for a few years, or a lifetime, it will take some conscious “un-rushing” to break the habit. It took me many years to “un-rush,” and in the modern world it’s dependent on being comfortable, not necessarily going with the societal flow!

When I worked in London, I rushed out of the front door, rushed to The Tube station, and onto the platform — felt annoyed there was no “train due in three minutes.”

Later, I rushed along the busy street, rushed into work, rushed wishing the elevator would move faster and then rushed about the office all day, until I rushed home or to meet a friend.

Rushing was ingrained in my body for decades. It did me little good; I was stressed and lived life like I was on fire. Unsurprisingly, I burnt out in the form of stress and then decided to make some dramatic changes.

If we rush through life we’re in danger of having more accidents and maybe even needing a monthly prescription of antacid indigestion pills or ulcer medication.

Certainly there will be situations that require us to move quickly and be efficient, but it’s worth deciphering what genuinely requires speediness and what is just a habit of rushing?

Next time you’re racing about somewhere, check in and see: are you clenching your jaw? Are you feeling impatient? How much of your day is spent rushing? No judgment, just notice, and if you wish, tweak things to walk a little slower, breathe a little deeper, eat slower, simply stand in line and enjoy the two minute time out without gripping your cell phone so tightly.

We rush to work, rush to get coffee, rush to the gondola, rush to get lunch, rush to eat lunch (while rushing to somewhere else), rush to the shops, rush to dinner, rush to bed and only then wonder why we can’t sleep.

There is life after rushing. It’s time we moved at a different pace. Let the person in front of you finish their transaction before approaching, let the car out in front of you, let the bus out onto the highway, wait patiently as the table is laid, use this time as valuable time to breathe. We certainly all need it!

Joanna is reading a book on silence: “Ssssh!”

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