I heard it when I learned to play guitar.
I heard it when my mom took me out and tried to teach me how to drive.
I hear it whenever I speak in public, and honestly I wish there was someone to say it to me any time a guy calls to ask me out on the phone and I am talking faster than an auctioneer after drinking a case of RedBull.
Slow down, Jillian.
So it should have come as no surprise to me that last night during pottery class, the instructor came over to my wheel after watching me for a few minutes.
"Have you ever done tai chi?" he asked.
"Actually, yeah! Just a few weeks ago!" I said. (I'm in this phase of trying new hippie hobbies. I'm going back to my Asheville roots. If I stop shaving my armpits though, I give y'all full permission to host an intervention.)
"That's good. Think about that slow, controlled movement. You can't scare the clay into being centered. Slow down. Control your movements."
A few minutes later he dropped back by and told me to slow down the wheel (no pedal to the metal while you're shaping a pot, apparently. Shocker!)
After that- what do you know?? I centered the clay and was able to throw a couple decent looking little pots.
Lately I've been doing yoga, and it's teaching me to slow down, too. Slow down and breathe. Slow down and think about nothing but holding that frappin' crescent pose until you are sure your arm is literally gonna fall off and you will look like that girl from Soul Surfer but without the inspirational story.
The truth is, I'm always rushing into the next pose- go metaphorical with me- not just in yoga, but in life.
It's hard for me to stand all contorted in eagle pose like a human twizzler. My body wants to move. My mind wants to wander. But my focus has to be on resting deeper into the pose and finding strength even though I am ridiculously uncomfortable.
Same thing is happening in the macrocosm of my life. I'm not always comfortable where God has me. In fact, most of the time I wish time away and pray for the next stage of my life to get here a little sooner. Rings and babies people. Rings and babies.
But all these new activities are teaching me, for the millionth time, to slow down and to enjoy the process.
I'm not very good at that, but in this case- maybe it's okay to be a slow learner.
Now I know:
If life throws you a few speed bumps, be thankful. It's just teaching you to enjoy the ride.