During my short time in Japan, I feel like I rode half of the country’s trains. The process was made massively more complicated by all of the luggage I was carrying.
As I think back on those times, I am happy that I made it! I battled countless escalators, treacherous stairs, and was saved a few times by heavenly elevators. The process gave me perspective…and more than once, I thought about the plight of any alternately abled person who might be in need of support when utilizing this efficient form of transportation. (Our physicality is probably one of our most overlooked privileges!)
The process also made me reflect on the influence of momentum. I was traveling on holiday…without a need to be at a particular place at a certain time, but I found myself caught in the motion of the wave. In crowded subway stations, there is nowhere to stop. Like a molecule in a wave, you are hopelessly locked in step with the motion of everyone around you. To stop is to risk being trampled. I think the pressure to keep pace with everyone else (and the train! When the doors close, they close!) was a form of stress on my body…and it contributed greatly to my feelings of exhaustion after every trip. (I used the high speed, 300mph, bullet train Nozomi to get from Tokyo to Osaka, and then Osaka to Yokohama. Between those times, I traveled via subway and elevated trains.)
After every train trip, I found myself in need of rest and fresh air. Walks outside would rejuvenate me, and sleep would heal me. By the end of the trip, a warm soak in a deep tub was a welcome escape from my sore muscles. All of these activities helped me to breathe again, and to get back to my own pace.
Society can be like the train station experience. We take cues for the speed we should be traveling by the forces around us. Our jobs are often the train that sets the tempo (when to wake, when to sleep), and the people around us (friends, family, colleagues, social media network) set the speed of the wave. These influences give us our cues as to where we should be going, and the speed at which we should be moving to get there (e.g. child by 35!).
But this is exhausting. And it is meaningless.
Dare to disrupt this paradigm and set your own pace! Dare to rest (down with competitions regarding who worked the most hours!)…dare to have “unproductive” days…and date to take a walk in nature, at your own, to connect with Source.
Waves eventually crash. Take care of you and watch the Universe respond to support you. The leaf that rides the wave eventually makes it to shore, too ;)