Posted by: drjamm | September 9, 2009

Speed of Life

Trees against blue skies, photoshoped swirl by "luna"

Trees against a blue sky, "Photoshop" swirl by "luna"

I am back from my summer in the country. It is no surprise that I am having the usual city culture shock. Life in this city is just so fast and action packed. Where my mind used to have time over the summer to dwell on meditations while hanging clothes on the clothes line, and working on the beginnings of a book, now I have to sharply snap to the present, packed-to-the-rafters Fall term that lies before me. Where I use to drive along a single lane of a roughly paved back country road vaguely keeping my eyes on the ditch in case of jumping deer, now I am white knuckling the steering wheel as I drive my daughter to school along a freeway full of people who consider the posted speed their minimum speed.

The other day I was merging onto the freeway by way of one of the few on-ramps that has a long, easy entry onto the freeway. After much advance signaling, and perfect positioning on my part, I began to merge onto the freeway only to have the on-coming driver step on the gas and overtake me — forcing me to brake and steer towards the cement barriers. I honked and yelled to the speed-demon driver, “HOLYSWEETMOTHEROFUSALL! DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO MERGE?!” (Could we just pretend that’s what I said? I am far too embarrassed to give you an exact quote of what I actually yelled). I braked in time and the other driver eventually moved to the non-merging lane.

jamm at

a negative lens

I made it home with every nerve jangled. I was frightened to have been almost run off the road. I was angry to have had my life endangered. And, most of all, I was ashamed that, after a whole summer of practicing my version of hippy “Peace, Love, and Harmony,” I had such a nasty stream of negative language issue forth from my mouth.  Then I had a realization: the obvious explanation for my absurd near-accident was that the over-taking driver simply did not see me or my merge signal — her or his mind must have been somewhere else.

If you are reading this post and have ever had your mind somewhere else while driving and made a stupid mistake, raise your hand. My hand is well up because I have — on more than one occasion — been an inattentive driver and put myself and others at risk. I need to stay vigilant and intentionally practice care-full driving, Clearly, if my cell phone rings while I’m driving, I should let it go to messaging so I — and those around me — can stay alive to see another day. Am I capable of committing to ONLY driving — no multi-tasking while I am driving? I hope so.

The Speed of Life in the country is slower, more mundane, less convenient. Time has a way of opening up and inviting me to grab a book or hang out with a pen and some paper. In the country, I notice the sunrises and sunsets, the tides, and the birds. jamm at brightheartsinging.wordpress.comFor me, the Speed of Life in the city is all about multi-tasking mothering, chauffeuring, teaching, house cleaning, choir rehearsals, and — if I feel not too guilty, I sneak moments to read or write. I can go days careening around my city life without noticing the sun or birds. Do I have what it takes when I am in the city, to regularly carve out time to connect with Nature, devote regular hours to writing, and bring a Sabbath or Holy Day into my life to refresh my Spirit once a week? I hope so.

I know, in a week, my country/city culture clash will have resolved and my city life will seem to me to be “No Big.” But right now, just when I am in transition from my summer retreat to my modern city life, the true Speed of Life and the real lifestyle choices it brings becomes very salient to me.

I normally finish my blog entries with a blessing for you. Today, I feel inspired to offer a prayer:

Holy Sweet Mother of Us All, please keep all of us  safe while we are driving. Help us resist letting the stresses and pressures of our high speed, complex lives adversely affect our good judgment and courtesy when we are in the driver’s seat. And Beloved Mother, while I have your attention, could you send me some of your Divine Calmness and Impeccable Judgment to help me wisely negotiate the transitions in my own Speed of Life. Amen and Blessed Be.

*******       bright heart singing                              credits and links             *******

Photo credits: Photo effects by “luna;” photos by jamm at

bright heart singing, copyright 2009 – jamm. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only (translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)


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