I learnt something today. A while ago, I read a line which said something like – the secret of doing things well and happily is to do them slowly.
I am not good at doing things slowly. I type fast, walk fast, talk fast. As I try to fit all the things into the day which must be fitted, I rush about, headless, heedless, with a constant sense that I am not achieving everything which must be achieved.
The sense of rush is like the tingling foam of a toothpaste. Toothpaste does not need to have that minty tingle; advertisers discovered, when the thing was first introduced to the general public, that people would not buy it unless they got the active sensation. It was a subliminal cue – the thing is working, it must be worth paying money for. In the same way, my irrational mind says that unless it has the hurry cue, I am not working hard enough, getting enough done, keeping up to the mark.
Today, I went slowly. I worked my horse slowly. I edited my book slowly, lingering over sentences. I completely forgot to speak slowly, but there is only so much muscle memory one can retrain in one day.
And I did get things done. I can’t tell yet whether it was more effective, or less, this new method, but I’m going to go on giving it a try.
One of the things I have taught Red the Mare is to take things slowly. She came from a working life of fastness – first in racing, then in polo. Even though I could not resist taking out that thoroughbred Ferrari for a whooshing canter every so often, I did a huge amount of walking, in the saddle and on the ground. Let’s just stretch and swing and mooch, I was telling her. It does not all have to be zoom, zoom.
It makes me laugh that I have turned her from a sports car to a stately old Bentley. If she were a motor, she would now be driving around Maggie Smith, not Jensen Button. She still has a socking great engine, but the emphasis on slowness means that I can roll her into a glorious low canter on a loose rein, and she has no sense of rush and dash. She moves serenely within herself, giving me a harmonious sensation that goes beyond words. She can take life gently, as it comes to her. As always, she teaches me a vital lesson, and as always, it takes me a little time to catch up. I instinctively applied slowness to her before I even thought of applying it to myself.
I am all speed. I am impatient, desirous, grasping even. Let us do this, this and this – now, this instant, ten minutes ago. Kick on, I tell myself, twenty times a day.
Now I think: go slowly. It is worth a try.
No camera today. A few pictures from the archive:
Although this one is not quite in focus, I rather love it, because I think it looks like a painting:
(I suddenly realise quite a lot of my pictures are not in focus. Just off, rather a lot of them. For some reason, this feels faintly symbolic. Or indicative, at least. I think that I am often not quite in focus. Little bit blurry round the edges.)
The Deeside Gliding Club, seen from HorseBack. Apparently it’s got the best thermals in Europe. Or something:
Oh, Mr Handsome. He certainly took his adorable pill this morning. Some days, he wakes up and is just so sweet I think he must be doing it for a bet:
Her ladyship, who got five gold stars for her work today. We worked on the ground, at liberty, and the swish swish swish of a half ton flight animal following my every step, with no need for a rope, made my heart sing in my chest:
As I finish this, I suddenly realise – I have written a whole blog which could be summed up by the hoariest old proverb. More haste, less speed. Ah well, sometimes the obvious has to be stated. I am human, after all, and the obvious is often the first thing I forget.