"Things take longer than we think," a friend said. She is older than me, and I believe her.
What I often fail to account for are the transitions. The time it takes to move from one state of being to another is not inconsequential, nor is it swift; especially when one is moving from her thinking brain down into the wiser space of her heart.
Earning a living as a public relations consultant for innovative companies while working toward creating this dream of Lucia, I encounter transition on a daily basis. My day timer has slots for every thirty minute period of the day, and I learned long ago that organization is not as simple as fitting my list of tasks neatly inside those lines. It is difficult to move back and forth between thinking-tasks and feeling-tasks more than once a day. It takes time to drop into the heart space.
Transitions often require more time and energy than the tasks that lie between them.
On a slow day, I send 60-75 emails. I receive more than 150 (not counting email for Lucia). Each one is a decision. Keep? Delete? Read? Respond? If so, how quickly? Is it urgent? What to say? How do I convey what I mean efficiently, effectively, professionally? Anyone who makes a living communicating on email will understand what I mean at the end of the day when I sigh, "My brain is so tired."
Someone I love recently said, "I'm not very good at multi-tasking." Oh, baby, none of us are. It is the stuff of crazy-making. Yet we go around pretending like it is possible and we allow those who claim it as a mark of their superiority to convince us they have more intelligence, more drive, more talent than we do. But the truth is they do not. No one can be fully present in two places at once. Our brains and our hearts are connected, yes. They are also different locations with different functions. Getting back to the heart takes time, but it is the more powerful place to inhabit.
The roses are blooming now.
Outside my office and living room windows they make the gentlest slow-motion explosion. It started as a mass of tiny buds. Now, soft pink blooms climb this sweet farmhouse like something straight out of a fairytale.
Today is Friday, and I marked the moment of transition from week to weekend by stopping to stand beneath them. I smelled every one I could reach, noticing how its own scent was slightly different from the others. I whispered, "I love you," because I do. I closed my eyes and touched the leaves and petals. I breathed.
Thoughts slid slowly from my brain downward into the well of my moving heart. It slowed. I listened to the beats and for a moment could not tell if the rhythm belonged to me, or to the rosebush. Maybe it was a two-part harmony.
An hour later I am back at my desk, still transitioning. If all goes well, this shift from week-brain to weekend-heart will only take about twelve more hours. Quiet music from Patty Griffin on Pandora soothes my psyche, coaxing the progression downward with an easy rhythm that entrains with my pulse, just like the roses did.
These things take time: Making a living. Loving another person. Creating a new magazine. Building a team. Cultivating a tribe. Helping raise a child. Composing a life. Everything does, really.
Whatever you are working toward, know this: It will take longer than you think. There will be transitions. And they, as much as any other passage on your life's journey, are where beauty and meaning and vitality are waiting. Breathe in. Drop down. Stop thinking. Start feeling. Smell the roses.