When life feels like a big rush

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
– Lao Tzu


Most days I’m fairly relaxed and just do what’s before me. I take disruptions as they come and if it means I don’t my list of tasks completed – so be it. So when this site crashed after I’d updated my theme X, a few weeks ago, I felt calm. (I’d seen the words “fatal error” before, so I knew they didn’t mean really fatal – as in dead, kaput, unsalvageable.) And when I managed to get it back only to discover it had lost most of its design elements, I just got on with rebuilding it the way I wanted it to look.

It wasn’t always like this. I didn’t used to be calm. I used to get frustrated and annoyed at myself for not doing enough, for doing things wrong, for doing too much, for doing at the wrong time… and the funny thing is, this disapproval of myself never led to getting more done. More often it led to a game of solitaire, or to a dozen deleted posts or crumpled sheets of paper. More often it led to rushing through tasks, making mistakes and feeling – well – rushed. And stressed. And losing patience with others too. One morning when I was at Art School, it was assessment time and I couldn’t find some of my work. As I raced around the apartment trying to find it and feeling annoyed at myself, I also felt annoyed at my flatmates, who seemed not to care and who I felt should care enough to help me hunt.

Of course they were busy with their own early morning tasks and didn’t have time to stop and help me hunt. They may even have made suggestions for where to look; it’s so long ago that I can’t remember. I just remember realising that my expectations were unreasonable – and then feeling even worse than I already did because on top of being disorganised and incompetent, I was also unreasonable.

Time has passed since then, and I learned what is now fashionably called mindfulness. I learned to question stress-inducing beliefs, and to let go of emotions. For instance, I know now that my flatmates’ indifference to my panicked hunting didn’t mean they thought I was a stupid idiot who had no ability to organise herself. It just meant they had things to do too. And even if they had thought I was a stupid idiot who had no ability to organise herself, that didn’t make it true. I could learn to become more organised, I could be kinder to myself – and though it took a while, that did indeed happen.

Yet, today, I found myself feeling irritable. Due to a mixture of things out of my control, I hadn’t got done as much done over the last few days as I’d hoped, and that week spent repairing my blog means that I’m still behind on several projects. Add to this that a couple of weeks are coming up soon when I’m unlikely  get much time to write, and I was beginning to slip into bad old habits of feeling under pressure to rush, rush, rush.

I checked my emails. I get an email every day from Living Compassion, with a Daily Peace Quote. You’ve probably guessed by now that the quote at the top of this post was the one that came pinging into my inbox today.

It was exactly the reminder I needed. Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished. I will accomplish what’s required of me, if I just allow life to flow. No need to resist or to try to control. In fact, the more I try to control, the more things usually go against whatever scheme I’m pushing for. When I let go, I more often find solutions I hadn’t thought of in my closed and pushy mind.

Nature doesn't hurry





  1. I feel like I’m too rushed not to be rushed. Or something. Thanks for the reminder to slow down. I still haven’t mastered the art of calming myself off the irrational ledge but I’m trying.

    1. Author

      Deb, having a baby and young child can exacerbate the feeling, so definitely cut yourself a giant amount of slack. With little kids everything takes about 4 times as long – especially things like getting ready to go out!

      What you wrote about feeling too rushed not to be rushed reminds me of a time years ago when I shared a house with several other people, and I realised I drove past one woman’s work on the way to mine. So I offered to give her a lift (ride?) instead of her having to get the bus. She looked at me in panic, flapped her hands and said, “I haven’t got time. I haven’t got time!” Then she fled off. It had a lasting impact on me, though it didn’t stop me rushing.

      It’s not even so much about slowing down as not taking that rushed energy into what we do. We probably actually get things done faster without it. And I was definitely glad of Lao Tzu’s reminder today!

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! Love to you and your family.

  2. In a funny way, not working 9-5 and being able to dictate the pace of my day makes it inevitable that, when the pace ups for whatever reason – usually because I’ve forgotten some appointment – I’m all of a tizzy. Do I miss that hustle and bustle? Not really no. But the use it or lose it principle works here and I miss being better able to absorb the pressure and move on. But equally, the stress of my new everyday has its compensations. I am more aware, rather than doing things instinctively, of what the pressure is doing to me and can adjust accordingly – rather than just ploughing on which was the previous default position. I suppose my nerve endings are not dulled by petition so it impacts more but I understand what it is doing better. Like dulling pain isn’t good if the underlying problem hasn’t gone away – sharp pain better prepares you to take necessary steps to avoid or mitigate against it.

    1. Author

      Geoff, I love your comment. It confirms something I’ve wondered about – that we get used to a level of stress and don’t notice it is affecting our lives. I like the way you describe it – the dulling pain isn’t good if the underlying problem hasn’t gone, and sharp pain prepares you to take the necessary steps.
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. There will be no slack given! 😉

    I liked geoff’s comment too. Not having a 9 to 5 breaks up the day in a difficult way. But I try to remind myself that this imperfect solution allows me to spend more time with and be more present for the kids. And it’s temporary.

    Baby steps. 🙂

    1. Author

      Oh, go on Deb – just a baby step amount of slack then! Baby steps are perfect!
      Actually, I love how you are finding benefit in what feels like an imperfect solution.

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