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Speed check

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I did something last week that i’ve never done before

I hit myself in the head with a hammer.

No, I did not do it on purpose; and yes, it hurt… and if my life pans out the way I hope it will, I won’t ever do that again, but I must say it caught my attention and got me back to living in the moment.

One of the reasons I’m sharing this little embarrassment is that I think the column it is leading into follows on from the piece I wrote for last week’s issue.

That one was about what can happen if you drive a vehicle faster than the conditions safely allow and this one is about the dangers of being in a hurry when you do other things.

The particular job I was doing last week was fitting and nailing rafters on the shed I’m building in my back garden. There were 12 rafters in all and everything was moving along smoothly through the first nine fittings.

I was centred, like the lady in the picture at the top of the page; then it started to drizzle. Instead of treating the rain the way she seems to be treating her wet butt, I let it throw to me.

Doing a good job was no longer my only concern; I also wanted to get finished as quickly as possible so I wouldn’t have to set up again later on.

So what did I do? I started to rush, and when the 10th rafter didn’t line up perfectly, instead of pulling the nails and starting again, I tried to bash it into place.

Unfortunately, after the hammer deflected off the wet rafter I had the additional job of mopping blood off my forehead before getting my tools out of the rain.
Woops.

Anyway, I think there are several points here. One is that the best, and usually the fastest, way to get a job done properly is for us to take our time so we only have to do it once.

Another is that even when we fully understand that first point, which I’m fairly certain I do, something is going to crop up – a phone call, a sudden change in the weather – that will make it difficult to hold onto that centred approach.

That means it is probably a good idea to slow down on a regular basis and take a look at how we are behaving so that we will have a fighting chance of identifying when we are getting it wrong.

I’m not saying we all need to take up formal meditation and sit for ages with our legs crossed and our eyes closed in some secluded location.

I’m just saying there are real benefits to consciously focusing on ourselves.

That can be tricky in this fast paced world of phones, TVs radios, IPods, computers and other distractions, but if we don’t block those things out once in a while, life will throw something our way to force us to slow down.

My final point is that sometimes that something can be quite painful… like a hammer.