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ideas for a new earth

  • Abigail Wilson

Patience and potency

There was a time in my life when I lived by speed. The drive to produce, to accomplish, to see and do overwhelmed other values - and I moved so quickly that I didn't notice what was missing.

When I look back now at what I built in those years, I feel a sense of pride. But I also recognize that much of what was built no longer exists. Tall trees need strong roots to stand.

Slowing down started in my body. Human nervous systems have the capacity for incredible focus and speed; it is what allowed our ancestors to survive long enough to bring us into existence. But this capacity for intensity must be balanced by rest, or it will begin to consume the host. The body will collapse under the weight, and all that we attempt will collapse with it.

By slowing down, I allowed my body to be nourished instead of depleted. In turn, my projects and passions were also nourished. My ideas deepened. Values became rooted in a true sense of desire, instead of fueled by the need for movement. And as I allowed my efforts to span more days, I stopped abandoning them on the lightest pretense of failure.

With patience comes potency.

When we deeply listen to our loved ones, we point our attention upon them fully. With our bodies and our being, we show them the profound respect and care we hold for them.

When we deeply engage with our projects and ideas, they deepen beyond a to-do list. They become embedded in the cadence of our lives. Just as the fallow soil of winter brings forth the wild abundance of spring, so too do the quiet times in our lives bring forth an abundance of purpose and impact.

Is it merely coincidence that such slow engagement also heals our own soul?

This lesson first arrived for me through the plants - patient, receptive tending is a demonstration of the depth of our love and appreciation for the plant and our place in the garden. In return, the plant loves us back. We are gifted with blooms and scents, and a vegetable body alive with potent medicine. The garden is healthier and more bountiful for our slow presence. The fruits of its harvest are more nourishing.

As I bring patience to my work, I am kinder to myself, and happier. Meaningful work rises above the detritus of slapdash ideas. I am more capable of witnessing the steady build of community, the incremental shift towards the world I want to live in.

Large ships turn slowly. There is a time and a place to skim the waves, but I challenge you now to sink your rudder deep, and shape the currents to your purpose.


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