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  • Writer's pictureMaj-Britt Johnson

Slow down to speed ahead

Slow down to speed ahead. My coach at Keller Williams uses that phrase a lot. She also says, “breathe,” to me a couple times a week, just like my yoga teachers did, and just like I used to tell committee chairs, and others, when I was a minister. Who knew I would find such wise teachers in the world of real estate? Not me, but I did, and I am grateful.

Even when we think we know something it takes being reminded over and over for us to return to, and claim, our innate wisdom. Whenever we’ve launched a new endeavor, or are planning for one, we tend to speed up. We panic, we think we have to do it all at once, and quickly, or somehow the opportunity in front of us will disappear.

We know that it makes intuitive sense to slow down. We know that when we get too revved up we’ll crash, and we’ll make a mess that will just create more work later. But slow down to speed ahead. Hunh? What kind of paradox is that? The same as all kinds of paradoxes. They wake us up by juxtaposing two opposing images. So yeah, if I slow down I might just see the way clear to speeding up ahead.

The same coach also said to me recently: Do you know why lawyers write so slowly? “Because they charge by the hour?” I asked. “Nooooo, they write slowly," she said slowly, "because they are being careful not to make mistakes. They deal with so many details. They are being very, very careful. They are slowing down to speed ahead.”

I’ve been thinking about that. And it's true. And I'd stored that image of slow writing lawyers in my unconscious mind; but I never paid attention to what my soul was trying to show me. That lawyers at real estate settlement tables, that bank clerks, that all kinds of folks who deal with data tend to speak and write very, very slowly and carefully. So does my coach, when she’s writing on the white board in our group classes. And when she does, I slow down, and I breathe. Spaces then appear between my thoughts and feelings. There's more room inside. All the swirling particles in my mind settle down, like kindergartners flocking back to their desks after recess.

This morning I was brain-storming some ideas for A Light in the Window, and I found myself slowing my hand, way, way down as I wrote on my own white board. The result was that my handwriting looked like it did when I first learned penmanship at P.S. 81, with my favorite teacher, Miss Orr. Round and legible and friendly looking. Unlike the illegible rushy-rush scrawl it somehow morphed into over the years. Not only that, the kindergartners were again returning to their desks. And there they sat, alert! Listening! It was great.

Best of all, I realized I was done with my task. My brain had stormed, but it was a kind of controlled storm, and now I had what I needed. At which point I almost panicked. What would I do with the half hour I had left in the time I’d blocked for brainstorming?

Well, I wrote this blog. Which created even more space and time...

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