I want a life lived. Like you, fellow Go Girls, I am an adventurer and a collector of stories. If life is play then I want to be a player. I’m made to be in the thick of it, of being out there, gathering and weaving experience. And yet I admit it: while I’m all about Carpe Diem and all that good stuff, I’m also about retreat and doing nothing.
You see, I am no either/or. I am a Go Girl and a Slow Girl.
I do not have to choose one over the other, because I’m both. I’m designed to travel, to discover fresh things in life- my air is freedom. At the same time, traveling inward is as vital as the air I breathe; without it, I drown. My nature sings when I embrace this duality, when I allow myself to be out there and in here.
Alone time is a non-negotiable for this Go Slow Girl. Sitting in my chair- it’s where I make sense of the stuff of life. It’s in solitude that I take up my inner life and slow down to life’s true pace. If I get too distracted fulfilling roles and responsibilities, then the life I’m so busy creating no longer feels authentic. The poet, May Sarton, puts it this way, “That is what is strange- that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened.”
If I am going to be on the Go, then it’s especially important that I find opportunity to be on the Slow. The holidays are a good time to remember this, because we all know how overwhelmingly busy we can get! The challenge of finding solitude in the midst of all the tangibles reminds me how essential the intangibles of life are. I get to choose how I spend my time. This season doesn’t have to be about obligatory heres and theres; it can be about tuning into the natural pace of life and finding my place. Looking closely at the world around me, I see that the coldness and darkness of the season are invitations to come in. Winter’s lack of light actually offers us a path for turning inward and renewing our own light.
There is one event on my on the Go calendar that celebrates this- the light we all carry within. It is the Winter Spiral and unlike many holiday festivities, it is a Go Slow ceremony, giving us the chance to attune to the inner life. It happens every year as part of my daughter’s Waldorf-inspired school. A large spiral path of evergreen boughs is laid on the floor. An angel enters the room carrying a large glowing candle and places it in the center of the spiral. One by one, the children enter the spiral with an unlit candle. They walk the path, lighting their candle from the central candle. On the return, the child places their candle along the path. In this simple tradition we offer support and nourishment for our children and for ourselves as we take up our lives (pick up our candles) and spiral inward to the deep source within. We renew our light, and then spiral outward to share that light with others.
In the same way, the deeper I go within, the deeper I go into the world, with more gifts to share. I’m a better Go Girl if I’m also a Slow Girl.