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Slowing Down to Peace and Love

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On my way home from St. Patrick Day celebrations on Saturday evening, walking down a small alleyway, I came across a man shouting and finger pointing very aggressively at a woman, almost pinning her against the wall.

I immediately called out to him ‘whoa, whoa, let’s slow down here.’ Predictably, he turned very angrily to me, telling me to mind my own business, laced with a few other choice words. I repeated to him ‘I’m just suggesting that we all just slow down a little and take a few breathes.’

He then walked off, throwing a few other insults, and the woman thanked me. I asked if she wanted to call anyone, or get a cup of tea at the bar next door, and she said she had to go, she was staying in a room with the guy just nearby. Asking once again if she was okay, and her insisting she was, we parted. When I got to the front of the building I explained what had happened to the security team and asked that they go check on her.

Reflecting on this I notice I felt no fear at all, only compassion for both of them. I, too, have felt that anger, and I, too, have been the subject of physical abuse. I also notice that what occurred to me in that moment, was not to suggest he calmed down, (I’m not sure that, in the entire history of people being told to calm down anyone has ever calmed down by being told to calm down…) but to suggest he SLOWED down. Maybe there is no difference, maybe simply my presence helped and nothing more, or maybe it was a difference subtle enough, I’ll never know.

But it reminded me of the simplicity of seeing any uncomfortable emotion as an invitation to slow down. Not necessarily to physically slow down, but to allow our thinking to slow down, to allow some space for a little more sense to appear out of the confusion of muddy thinking.

In those moments, that guy was completely indulged in his thinking, drowning in it, allowing his rage inside to manifest in actions outside, there being zero space between his thinking and his actions.

It is in slowing down that we allow the space to see our thinking for what it is. “It seemed like a good idea at the time” often dissolving into an alternative, more peaceful and loving version of truth.

I’m grateful I showed up when I did, although it can never be known what might have happened otherwise, and I am even more grateful for the times I get to see the illusionary and transient nature of our thinking, and get to remember what reveals itself when we allow our thinking to slow and fall away.

Remembering love is always there, whatever we’re believing, in any moment, helps us to allow other options to appear, even when the waters are muddy. As Byron Katie says, if we’re not feeling love, we’re confused.

I am filled with compassion for anyone feeling so confused as to be consumed by their feelings of anger, and for anyone subjected to behaviours born out of that confusion and distraction from love.

And I’m super grateful for all my teachers and mentors over the last twenty years that have helped me see and understand a little more about the nature of the human experience, and the nature of love.

Love always.