By Kellie Schorr

When I was a child, legends, parables, conventional wisdom, old wives’ tales—whatever you want to call them—had nothing on the highest caliber wisdom you could find—Little Kid Life Truth.

LKLT was trafficked like a drug on the playgrounds where I grew up.  Whispered right under the noses of teachers, and proudly proclaimed at every sleepover, these solid truths gave us all the tools we needed to be a success in the world.

I was raised in a time before Bill Nye the Science Guy, the internet and parental supervision so it was LKLT that gave me everything from the inside scoop on Santa to a completely vivid understanding that your body is, in fact, an internalized system remarkably similar to “Chutes and Ladders” which was run by elves.

Stub your toe and feeling it throb? That’s some poor elf banging on it with a tiny little hammer trying to fix it up.  Butterflies in your stomach?  The elves as so nervous/excited they’re jumping up and down. They wore miners’ hats with lights so they could see and if you got punched by the big mean sixth grader who was always hogging the slide, it would break the light of the elf who worked in that region and your skin would appear black or blue until the light got replaced.

Also, the elf was pretty unhappy about the break—so—don’t touch it.

It was because of LKLT that I insisted on having sneakers with red laces, or a red stripe or red letters. If I had to wear other shoes, I wore red socks. I remember the day I noticed my mom’s hairdresser had red fingernails. I thought she was a genius. Why? Because as we, and the elves who run us, all know—red shoes make you go faster.

When you’re a little one in a world of long-legged speedy giants, quick dogs and supersonic grocery carts you’re always on the lookout for a way to increase your speed. The problem is, as time performs its strange magic and we become one of the long-legged giants with a little more knowledge of internal organs and a lot less elf in our lives, we don’t let go of the desire to go faster.

We hurry and scurry, confusing being busy with being important, and cram so much into each day we end up living at the intersection of energy and exhaustion. Life on that corner is an absolute nightmare.  Ready to wake up? Take off your red shoes.

 Avoid Dash-isions

The decision-making process is definitely one that benefits when we shift gears from fast and flighty to slow and thoughtful. Think of how many times you hear someone say, “I don’t have time to meditate!” and realize they are also saying “I don’t have time to contemplate.” The frequency of that statement shows how many of us are making decisions by reflex, quick-thoughts or pure “let’s hope this works” stabs in the dark.

Decisions done on the dash may have a certain spontaneous energy that can be attractive, but they miss out on the perspective gained from investigation, action (not reaction), and careful evaluation. Not every decision requires hours of thought and internet searches, but for those times when we need to make important life choices, slowing down and thinking clearly may be the difference between a good result or a deep regret.

Develop Instead of Dump

If there’s one area where we’ve all been encouraged to run where we should walk (and sometimes where angels fear to tread) it is relationships. Whether it’s a date we got by a right swipe on an app or someone new we met via friends, the temptation to run toward that person often takes us down paths we didn’t anticipate, including the road of suffering.

Relationships progress quickly in these days where a stranger is just a friend request we haven’t clicked. We trust too fast, we fly too high and more often than not, we don’t realize how close we got to the sun until our dreams melt away and we fall plummeting back to earth. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Online or real-time, purposely develop relationships at a slow and natural pace, growing them from the seed of greeting to the affection that blossoms over time. Feed and nurture the people around you and ensure they are willing to invest in you as well. Don’t instantly dump your needs, traumas, desires, or gifts on top of someone and expect them to claw through it on their own. Grow together with time and enjoy the process of shared togetherness.

The Beauty of Intention

The final place in our life that deserves a barefoot stroll, as opposed to a red shoe fire run, is our spiritual heart-mind.  Exploration is a vital key to an open mind and healthy spirit, but you will find the results more sustainable when you travel with intention.

If you go about your spiritual journey like a rabid consumer taking in every teacher, every thought, every practice you end up with a rubber ball wisdom bouncing wildly around the room of your understanding.  It can be really fun to watch, until it knocks over all the pictures and breaks a window.

There’s nothing wrong with learning for many sources, but like relationships it’s better if you take your time to understand the teacher and the teaching. So much of what we get in Western culture has been colonized and refurbished. Be willing to do a little research into the root and origins of the teachings and discern if the person teaching them has a credible, responsible approach to them. Go about your path with intention so that you can gain both knowledge and wisdom.

In a world that encourages us to keep up, crush it, and move faster than ever before, it is an act of personal maturity and sanity salvation to realize you don’t need those red shoes in every circumstance.  There are certain elements of life that require some speed.

Trust me and the elves on this one. Slow is a speed.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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