“Slow Down,

You move too fast.”  Simon & Garfunkel had it right in 1966 and it’s still good advice today. (Man, am I dating myself or what?)

Although I’ve thought about “slowing down” many a time, like many other folks, there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in! I’m splitting my time (and focus) between being an accountant, an herbalist, a writer, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend … and sometimes feel overwhelmed. But I was visibly reminded yesterday that I needed to slow down a bit. I had a phone conversation with my high school classmate, friend and now publicist, Kathleen Malone of Sundance on Success. She, like us about six years ago, has moved into a new home that needs some landscaping. Not yet having visited our corner of heaven in the mountains, she hasn’t seen my garden and I wanted to share it with her – at least through a photo or two…

… and it was pouring down rain during our conversation.  After we finished talking, I went back to work but as soon as the skies cleared for a few minutes, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed the camera and ran outside.

As I ran down the stairs to the garden to a good spot to take a photo, I startled the bejeesus out of a box turtle. They’re rather prevalent around here but I’d never seen one in the yard before. Like all turtles, he “turtled up” upon seeing me.  I took a couple of photos of the garden and was ready to run back into the house when something told me to just sit there. A minute or two of quiet later, he started to poke his head out of his shell. Far enough, at least, that I could get a shot of his head.Ooo, there was so much to do … I wanted to get the photos to Kathleen, had piles of work still waiting for me on my desk and in the shop, there was laundry to be done and I needed to check in on Mom. But as I downloaded the photos from the camera and started looking at this little guy, I realized that I was rushing for no apparent reason. There was nothing on an immediate deadline and I needed to take a breath.

That got me to thinking about the people I encounter. If they have a physical problem that they want to take an herb for, they’re looking for something that will work within an hour … even if whatever it is has been building up in their system for years. Phytotherapy (medical herbalism) doesn’t work that way. Illness is an imbalance in the body and herbs work to bring the body back into balance with itself. That takes some time.  Even synthetic medications take time.  Mom’s only been on her Parkinson’s medication for two weeks and is mightily upset that the tremors haven’t stopped, despite the fact that she’s been told by her doctor (and me) that it will take a month or more for the meds to have any noticeable effect.

The same thing goes for many witches I meet. They want something, put a spell together in a hurry without taking time to think things all the way through and then are surprised when the results aren’t what they wanted, or perhaps intended.

I’m not sure when instant gratification and “have it done yesterday” became de rigeur in our society but I do believe it’s added to the stress level of a good proportion of the population. Chronic stress isn’t good for anyone, physically or mentally.  If folks would slow down a bit, stress levels would decrease and I think we’d all feel better.

I left the piles of work, decided the laundry could wait, resolved to call Mom later in the day and went back outside to watch the turtle for a few more minutes. He slowly made his way to wherever he was going but I’ll betcha dollars to donuts he eventually made it. I felt more relaxed and better able to tackle my work when I went back to my desk.