One of my favorite stories came to mind tonight as I was meeting with a client. She was facing major life changes and had a game plan to put it into action. I shared this wisdom as she nodded, having heard it before herself.
“There was once an American traveler who planned a safari to Africa. He was that typical Type-A American tourist, who many of us may be and who I admittedly am when I travel. We do our research about this travel destination and we have a timetable, maps, and a clear agenda of the things we need to see and do. Some local people had even been hired to carry some of the traveler’s supplies as they trekked throughout the land—it was that level of planning.
On the first morning, they all woke up early and traveled fast and covered a great distance. The second morning was the same—woke up early, traveled fast, and traveled far. Third morning, same thing. But on the fourth morning, the local hired help refused to move. Instead, they sat by a tree in the shade well into the morning. The American traveler became incensed and irate and said to his translator, “This is a waste of valuable time. Can someone tell me what’s going on here?” The translator looked at him and calmly answered, “They’re waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”Terry Hershey, Sacred Necessities: Gifts for Living with Passion, Purpose, and Grace, 68-69.
After hearing these wise words, my client smiled beatifically, patted her heart and repeated the words several times “Letting my soul catch up with my body.” I sighed along with her, since I too was in need of that good advice that I was guided to offer her. I convince myself that I am going at a managable pace, until, like tonight on the way home, I experienced heart skippity palpitations in consideration of all of the things on my to-do list for the next few weeks. Instead of heading right out to the gym which I know would be good for me, I elected to get some rest, which would be nourishing as well, with the committment to do my Planet Fitness playout tomorrow. Writing feeds my soul and calms me as well, thus our cyber conversation at the moment. Since I teach this stuff, it doesn’t serve me or anyone else to be hypocritical. It is indeed my own sacred necessity in the words of Terry Hershey above to honor the calling within me to slow down and simply BE in this moment, even as the world might be swirling around me and my son is watching a Quentin Tarantino movie upstairs with 10 screams per minute. I am doing my best to be in my bliss bubble as I tune it out. I am in my happy place on a mountain top, with the air breezily blowing, the sweet serenade of calling birds, the cloud dappled blue sky hovering above and a magnficent view below so I can get the bigger picture. And if you happen to find me there, don’t mind me. I’m just letting my soul catch up.