There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.Mahatma Gandhi
Our society has an obsession with speed. It has permeated into every facet of our lives. You’ve probably heard of fast food, lightning cables, and speed reading. It’s better to finish work and chores quickly rather than slowly. If you’re stumped by a question, the answer is at your fingertips waiting for you on the Internet. This ludicrously fast culture is a mastermind at delivering instant gratification.
The problem with that is we become unwilling to delay our satisfaction. We begin focusing exclusively on the present and start forgetting about the future. If you’re feeling hungry, you can graze on snacks. Feeling down? You’re just a web page away from retail therapy. Just because a warning light comes on doesn’t mean you need to drop everything to fix it. Instant gratification is now synonymous with infinite procrastination of the things that matter.
I’ll admit, some things in life simply cannot be delayed. Bodily functions like sneezing, farting, and peeing need to happen shortly after you feel the urge. Some things can be delayed and in fact get better with age. Kimchi, wine, and cheese fall in this category. Lastly, there are things that must be delayed. Plum trees for example take a minimum of 3 years before they’ll produce any plums. It would be folly to cut down the tree prematurely just because it didn’t fruit.
This is another way of saying patience pays off. Often times, I wish I could eradicate all my flaws overnight. But, I also know that’s completely irrational. Some things just take a lot of time. Our bodies and minds need to internalize and habituate to these learnings. It’s not as easy as popping a pill or following some Internet click-bait. These quick fixes rarely address the underlying cause.
The physical practice of yoga has really reinforced these thoughts for me. Wishful thinking is not going to make me more flexible. A task as simple as touching my toes is in reality a multi-year process of consistent stretching of tissues like muscles and fascia. This process has led me to discover one of my favorite poses for feet flexibility: toes pose.
Whatever challenges you’re tackling, keep it up! It may take a while, but I believe in you.