My partner often repeats this mantra out loud, “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.”
As he says it, he is reminding himself to slow down in order to avoid a mistake that will result in re-plating a dish. As Sous-Chef, he is pulled in every direction of the kitchen: every order is paramount, and each movement must be calculated and skillful.
While my work is not a literal pressure cooker of real-time deadlines, I have been incorporating this mantra into my own life. Every day I discover new goals I want to achieve and dreams I hope to turn into reality like a hoarder of ambition. By no means am I suggesting that having a purpose and eagerness to aspire is negative or dangerous. Only that it is crucial to step back and take a look at how all of our initiatives will work together. What is their collective meaning in relation to one another?
As a recovering addict one of my main sources of coping with triggers and cravings has been to keep busy. Making sure that I don’t find myself with nothing to do and no one to check in with is how I stay focused on my number one goal: sobriety. So in order to keep busy I usually have lots of projects and lists of on-going tasks that keep me on point. When I find myself daydreaming or scheming or thinking about the past, all I have to do is open my notebook full of lists and just start in on what seems the most interesting to me.
This is a blessing, it helps me to be productive and it keeps me out of trouble. Of course there is a flipside. I can end up seeing the lists and my calendar and the rigid structure can swallow me, it’s overwhelming and it’s supposed to be in some ways because it’s a net that catches me before I fall through the holes. I know I have to fit everything in but how, when, who am I? What am I doing?
When I start to feel like this I can hear the mantra, “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.” Take it easy and do it one step at a time. Letting go of doing everything perfectly or getting everything done on the list, and surrendering to the flow of life rather than swimming as hard and fast as I can against it is really the secret to accomplishing goals. It may sound counterproductive. At first I thought it sounded like a cop out, I always thought that I was the one that made it all happen, that my will was how anything got done.
But if I slow down, take time to welcome into my mind the present moment and focus on what I am actually doing when I am doing it, then whatever I am doing comes easily. I can get it done in half the time. And maybe not, maybe it just feels like half the time because time is flying by. Either way, I feel fully connected and I am completely present and I am getting done that which I have set my mind to. “Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.”