Hasten slowly

“Hasten slowly and you will soon reach your destination.”   —Milarepa

I came upon that quote in Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance by Julia Cameron. When we busy ourselves doing something that we really believe in but rewards are slow coming, it is easy to get discouraged. Whether it is raising money for a good cause, writing a book, or facing another day with a troublesome co-worker,  sometimes we just need a little push to carry on.

But, how can we hasten . .  . slowly? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

And yet, it seems we do. When I think about it, every valuable part of my life has come to me out of hastening slowly.

    • A university degree: scribbling notes and typing assignments during caffeine-driven all-nighters—for four years
    • A thriving marriage: career juggling, whirlwind vacations, chasing around after toddlers, paying down the mortgage—for 22 years
    • Children: pacing the floor during sleepless nights, car pooling to hockey games, gritting teeth at parent-teacher interviews, wanting everything to be perfect for them—for, well, forever
    • Published writing: handwriting first drafts, transcribing messy second drafts, editing, reading aloud, pacing, getting up in the middle of the night to change a word—for days, weeks, years

No matter what the destination, to get there, we need to hasten, and then wait.

To create the perfect garden, we must get out there and plant the seeds, remove the weeds, water the seedlings, and then wait. To learn to play “Moonlight Sonata,” we must put ourselves on the piano bench and play, practise, play, and then wait. When we learn to speak a language, we must recite the verbs, converse with friends, practise the accent, and then wait.

And if we stop typing, juggling, paying, pacing, gritting, planting, weeding, watering, playing, practising, reciting, conversing—if we stop hastening—then we never reach the destination.

Whatever your destination, hasten to it, and slowly you will arrive.

2 thoughts on “Hasten slowly

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