Lessons Learned by Slowing Down

Submitted by Debby Stone.

I recently had surgery to repair a torn ligament in my right hand.  And for those of you who are wondering, yes, I am right handed!  After surgery, I went home in a heavy, large bandage that served much like a cast.  While bandaged, I had virtually no use of my hand at all.

Fortunately, I was liberated from that bondage (I mean bandage) after two weeks and now have a splint which gives me partial use of my right hand.  At least now I can wiggle my four fingers!

I will wear the splint for another couple of weeks, and during my recovery I have learned a number of things.  First, I have learned that there is a reason for the opposable thumb.  Without it, so many things are impossible.  The ability to grip really does set us apart from other species!

More importantly, I have learned the value of slowing down.  Normally, I move through life very quickly and slowing down seemed like a foreign concept to me.  However, as I recover from this surgery, I have been forced to move through life more slowly, deliberately and consciously.  It takes conscious thought to do anything and everything with my non-dominant hand, and it simply takes longer to do it.

Interestingly, my surgery coincided with adoption of meditation as a daily practice.  Meditation helps focus the mind and bring conscious awareness to each moment.  And let me tell you, currently, everything from feeding myself, to brushing my teeth, to typing requires me to deliberately, consciously  and carefully take the needed action.  There is no such thing as going through the motions of something without that extra bit of concentration and awareness.

Through my forced slow down post-surgery, I have been given a great gift.  I have learned that sometimes slower is better.  Much like the budding slow food movement, there is a great deal to be said for moving through life with more conscious awareness and for taking more deliberate action, even if that action takes more time.  The slower pace allows for space and in that extra space, I have thought more, reawakened my creative mind and gotten it through my head that it is okay if every email is not answered instantaneously.  When we slow down, the world does not end, it simply slows down with us.

I certainly don’t recommend hand surgery as a way to try slowing down but I do recommend meditation for anyone who has not yet tried it out.  And, as a coach, all of this makes me curious…

What could you learn by slowing down?