I have recently found myself contemplating the pace that plagues life in this modern and technologically enhanced era. Spurred on by not only my own fatigue, but also by the reflections of exhausted students in my college class, I find myself questioning what it is that I and others are working so hard to achieve. Life has become “way too busy” and admittedly, I find myself questioning both the reason for this pace and the apparent “gains” that keep one tied to it. As I take stock of what it is that I want my life to look and feel like, I consider what it is that brings a sense of peace and balance, and joy to my life. What I am discovering and rediscovering is that “time” is what I need and want…time for quiet and for stillness…time to take care of my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs…time to do more that just move from one task to the next in a never-ending barrage of movement and unconscious “doing” that speaks more to survival that it does to truly living.
I was struck profoundly by this desire when I read and felt the angst of my students as they shared their struggles to keep up with ever increasing demands. As I read, I reflected on my own struggles, and I realized that an endless supply of money would not make my current pace desirable. There is something more that I need and want. I want to enjoy my life – every moment of it. I want to live my life in consciousness, and exhaustion does not facilitate this. And with this realization, I come to another juncture in this journey of my life and I consider which direction I must now travel, in order to create the simplicity that I long for. As seek to I reclaim my life, I look to the challenges of this fall with gratitude for the lessons I have learned, the insights I continue to gain, and the growth that spurs me on and helps me to pause, and to breathe. And with this understanding I return once more to the beginning of the circle, where according to Zen philosophy, the cycle of growth begins anew.