. . . to the pace of the soul...
. . . said my friend Inge recently, and it feels so familiar that she and I keep wondering if someone else famously spoke this gentle admonition first. But Web searches have found no such quote.
I suppose there are people out there who might have to speed up to the pace of the soul. But for me, I often feel out of sync because my mind is ahead of me, leaning too anxiously into the next minute or hour, as if all the waking moments of my life are an emergency. Nothing new conceptually that “the tyrrany of the urgent” and The Power of Now (and the ancient wise ones) haven’t previously addressed, yet still I succumb to it. (Note to self: Contemplate the differences between emergency and emergent.)
Don’t my tense aching shoulders tell me something is amiss? This week I folded towels, as a break from university work on the laptop at home. The word grace filled me. My awkward hands felt graceful, not because they danced the way Martha Graham’s hands dance in the photograph here, but because I was doing what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Another way of saying it is that I wanted to do what I was doing, what needed doing; and I enjoyed it. Even the towels themselves seemed to flow, in free, delicate motion, as if in a breeze.
Slow down to the pace of the soul. It's a matter of syncing what must be done in a limited amount of time, with the consciousness of staying present with what my soul wants, an abiding challenge.
We press forward.But this march of time—consider it a glimpseof what endures.All that hurries willsoon enough be over,because what lingersis what consecrates us.O, young ones, don’t wasteyour courage on speedor squander it in flight.Everything is at rest:darkness and light,blossom and book.~ Rainer Maria Rilke“Sonette an Orpheus, I, XXII”Translated by Mark S. Burrows, 2009
NOTE about the photo of Martha Graham, taken by Yousuf Karsh: When he arrived in her apartment for the photo session, Karsh was amazed, and impressed, that her lodgings were simple and small. The ceiling seemed to be touchable, so close. He wondered how he would be able to photograph her in dance poses. He placed her on a low stool and asked her to assume positions of dance. This photo was one result.