Thursday, October 25, 2007

Apology Chains

It seems that as our lives get busier, they begin to resemble those dangerous high-speed traffic jams that increasingly clog our highways. I race through my day, depending on every other person to skillfully race through at exactly the same pace such that we don’t crash into each other. And, of course, there are almost daily “fender benders” -- the chiropractic visit where an emergency client means I’m ½ hour late being seen, meaning I have to apologize for being late at my next meeting, and then they have to apologize for being late getting out… an endless chain of apologies, looping and overlooping through our lives. And just as it is dangerously crazy to drive 70 mph with less than one car length between you and the next speeding car, it seems as foolish to drive our lives faster and faster, counting on some Grace or miracle to get us through each day with no “collisions”. The faster reaction-speed required of living in the fast lane are certainly taxing my energy, focus and emotionally resiliency - how about you?

I have attempted on some days to stay in the “slow lane” (which is itself speeding up) and leave “sufficient braking space” between appointments, and yet those spaces seem to attract (just like cutting-in cars) little tasks that will “just take a moment” and of course nearly or in fact lead to a appointment fender-bender or at least another frantic adrenalin moment, swerving to avoid some mistake or crossed-purpose. And how many times have I acted based on very insufficient information, only to find I’d over-reacted as a gut response to a non-danger (tree shadow rather than obstacle, friend feeling cranky rather than angry at me) simply because I‘m moving too fast to make a more considered response?

I wish I could say I had some answers; I don’t (except the usual safe driving hints, which seem applicable here), but I am intrigued with the pattern. Isn’t it interesting that we have this parallel between racing around physically and racing around virtually, organizationally, intellectually and even emotionally? Perhaps Someone’s trying to tell us something? Is there a “safe speed” for being human, and have our cultural super highways exceeded that? I am tending (obviously) toward “yes” as the answer to both questions, and hence I will be moving soon to a much small town, planning to have much more open schedule and much less real driving; hoping, in fact that there is indeed still some “byways of humanity” where I don’t have to live with one foot on the gas and one on the brake.

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