As I was standing in line at Customer Service, waiting to return an item, you could feel the impatience and pressure building in the long line. What could possibly be taking so long? When my turn came, I saw something beautiful: a woman taking her time without seeming rattled by the situation. She carefully drew a line through the item to be returned on the receipt, scanned the tag, tapped a few things into the computer, folded up the return, and just when I thought we were through, she pulled out a pliers to remove a stuck staple from the stapler that she planned to use to staple the new receipt to my old receipt. Then she said that she would look for some staples. A collective sigh from the line. “Tape could work for me” I told her. “No,” she said, “I think these staples will work best.” And they did. And she smiled. As the next person stepped forward she quietly said into her microphone, “I could use some help if anyone is available.”
While taking our time isn’t always possible, especially in emergency situations, with a little thought we can take steps to control the stress in our lives by finding a pace that works and sticking to it. Cramming too many activities into our days can become a pattern that results in hurry sickness. Being able to say no to ourselves and others doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It is a boundary thing.
Our practice of taking time also includes giving ourselves time to think things over or delay until we have things in place. to make a good decision. I have learned as a mental health practitioner how important it is to understand that people make changes and decisions in their own time. This is especially clear in the case of dealing with addictions or making steps toward a longtime goal. The best and longest lasting results come not from succumbing to pressure from the outside but by feeling our energy on the inside and taking our steps, one at a time.