Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Wisdom, Power & Joy of Slow Change

A note from for Monday July 21 2008

Welcome to another shining brand new Summer week.

I sincerely expect that each of you is having an amazing Summer, and that you are enjoying every sunny day.

In the midst of this Summer here in North America, many are reconciling their activities and making the necessary adjustments to ensure that the year’s end sees their goals and intentions fulfilled. How are you doing so far?

Our friend Philip gets us off to a fine start for this week. Enjoy!

The Wisdom, Power & Joy of Slow Change
By Philip Humbert

Remember the saying that "haste makes waste?" We live in a age of constant change and tremendous impatience. We want solutions and we want them "NOW!" We want relief, we want success, we want the future to arrive easily, cheaply and soon!

And, at the same time, we want peace of mind, simplicity, and release from the stress of modern life. My friend, George Dubie, says, "hurry is the devil" and he's right. I love the quote from Gandhi that "there is more to life than increasing its speed." I think nature is constantly trying to tell us this.

Recently, I saw a National Geographic on how change takes place in nature and while this was not their major lesson, here's what I got:

1. Rapid change is often marked by chaos, confusion, pain, suffering and sometimes disaster.

2. Slow change is marked by growth, beauty, evolution and astonishing complexity.

Now, obviously those two "rules" don't always apply, but here are my thoughts. Rapid change comes from things like volcanoes and earthquakes and hurricanes and floods. Yes, change is quick and powerful and awesome. And, yes, there is beauty in Mother Nature's power, but the results are unpredictable and filled with unintended consequences.

On the other hand, slow change created the Grand Canyon, Giant Redwoods, and the rich soil of the Great Plains. Slow, methodical human labor created the great pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal. In his biography of Wilbur and Orville Wright, Fred Howard makes the point that they were successful in building the first airplane precisely because of their methodical experiments, careful notes, exhaustive research and willingness to learn from others. They took their time and got it right.

We've all know that fad diets often lead to re-gaining the weight on the other side. The healthy way is to change your lifestyle, burn more calories than you consume and slowly, methodically (and safely) achieve your desired outcome.

In the quest for "instant wealth", how many have fallen for "get rich quick schemes?" In our "need for speed," how many of us have run aground, taken the wrong turn or rushed impatiently down the wrong path?

There is wisdom in the story of the tortoise and the hare. Remember their race? The rabbit jumps off to a dramatic, frenzied start while the poor lumbering tortoise doesn't seem to have a chance, but I'm sure you remember how the story ends!Sure, I want to reach my goals as quickly as possible.

Sure, I like going fast! Of course I prefer my high speed internet connection! Who doesn't?

But when it comes to reaching our most important goals--peace, prosperity, loving families, personal satisfaction and the joy of living well, Mother Nature seems to know something. She moves slowly and methodically. She does her work in small increments, day by day, always moving forward, taking her time and doing her work with exquisite beauty. We can learn from that

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