The Slow Road
My "a-ha" moment comes courtesy of Google maps. Yep...technology of all things. It was about 12 years ago when I first entered my preferences into Google maps. I indicated my primary mode of transportation would be a car and I selected the "quickest route possible" to be my primary recommended route.
Moving from Cumberland to Providence shifted my routes, so I've begun reassessing all of them. I noticed the quickest route is rarely the shortest or most direct route. Conscious of the wear and tear on my car, the mileage, and the effect my driving can have on the environment, I decided to start selecting the shortest route from my highlighted recommendations. And what an distilling moment!
Taking the more direct path through towns and neighborhoods has given me the opportunity to discover some truly wonderful places and people. Yes, there are more lights and stop signs. And I've begun to welcome these moments of 'pause' in my journey. Yesterday, it occurred to me, when I had been defaulting to the fastest route possible, I certainly got to my destinations a few minutes sooner but I had missed so much beauty as I sped along the way.
As I reflected further, it felt as though I was bypassing, not just quirky neighborhood yumminess, but life's simple treasures...simply to "get there" faster. I've known since grade school, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. So I feel somewhat foolish now, recognizing I'd been driving further out of my way (off my divine path), putting more strain, demand, and miles on my car (exerting more energy than necessary and beating myself up), only to miss the beauty and the opportunity to pause to take in the journey (and have to repeat the lesson again and again).
And it's okay. Had I not chosen the fast lane for so long I might not appreciate the slow and steady as much as I do today. And the beauty is...it's never to late to choose another route ;-)
If you're ready for a change in scenery and opportunity to truly slow down and see the world around you, I have some wildly unique retreats coming up...one to Morocco and one to Peru. Take a peek, and let me know if you can see yourself on one of these roads. I'd love to journey slowly with you for a spell.
Image of Haudenosaunee ‘calendar’; the thirteen lunar cycles of the year on Turtle’s back by Dawn Dark Mountain