Does anyone remember the famous sonnet by William Wordsworth, “The World Is Too Much With Us”? Each time I read it, it makes more sense to me, and it applies to humanity in all places and in all times:
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.”
Isn’t this something we all have felt at one time or other? Don’t we often feel that our personal world seems to be spinning out of control? When there are too many things in our lives to attend to all at once, when we are sick and need to have time for ourselves, when we lose a person or pet that we love dearly, when there are things that must be handled at once—it’s just too much.
We feel as though we are being tumbled without will in waves that keep rolling us over and over. It seems that there is just too much going on at once, and we can’t seem to focus on anything.
We’ve all been there. We have all felt that the world is definitely too much with us several times in our lives. Someone I respect greatly said recently to me that there are times when we need to give ourselves “slow time.”
Slow time means simply this: unplug from everything, even if for only a few minutes. Whatever is happening that you can let go of temporarily, let it go. Take ten minutes or so to just BE; push all the have-tos and should-dos and must-dos right out of your head—just for a few minutes.
Unless your newborn baby is screaming for a clean diaper or your dog is about to pee on the carpet, take a few minutes to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply, in and out. Keep in your mind whatever vision you have of complete peace. It can be a beautiful peony, slowing opening its petals to the sun, or the steady susurrus of ocean waves, or a sleeping kitten—whatever it takes to make you feel relaxed. Just a few minutes of slow time can give you the break you need.
We can’t be expected to do everything at once; it just can’t be done. All you can do is what you can do. Just know that a little bit of slow time can pay off in lowering blood pressure, sweeping the cobwebs out of your head, and feeling that, in time, you can handle what you need to. In short, give yourself a much-need ‘time-out.’