When I started this trip, one of my major goals was to break myself of the terrible ‘pace of life’ habits I’ve developed over the last few years – basically to just chill the F out.
Before I left, I always felt busy, always stressing about a massive to-do list and always running around (literally and figuratively) at 100 miles an hour, rushing from one task to the next, letting the day to day stresses (again, real or imagined) of my life get the best of me and robbing me of conscious time spent with friends, co-workers and family. That may be a surprise to some people, but is often how I felt.
Why? I don’t know. But taking this much time away from my ‘regular’ life outta help me figure it out. Better yet – change my perspective and eliminate those habits.
In the last year or two, I thought I’d mastered multi-tasking but at some point realized that’s actually not a good thing. Talking on the phone while typing emails and doing sign language with others is, as it turns out, not as productive as it sounds. Brushing your teeth while going to the bathroom – also unnecessary. For that and a hundred reasons, I’ve been trying to be conscious about slowing down on this trip, about letting go of that mania that had, at times, become my life.
At some point during the first week on the road, I developed my own mantra, something that I found myself reciting in my head whenever I realized I was reverting to crazy Grady – in traffic, at the store, failing to stop at a drop-dead gorgeous view (like I have some place better to be!) etc. For whatever reason, the phrase “slow your roll” popped into my head and never left. I don’t know where it came from (Martin Lawrence??), but it seems to work. So I’m not questioning it.
The other day, as Chris and I were riding around Minneapolis, we came across Peace Park. After walking around for a minute through the manicured gardens, I got back on my bike ready to check out the next stop. As I was pedaling away, I saw a very interesting art installation to our left, somehow affiliated with the peace theme of this part of the park. Normally, I’d think, “that looks cool, but i don’t have the time or patience to stop”. Then, Martin Lawrence started speaking in my year. Slow your roll, son. Stop and smell the freakin’ roses!
So, I did. And it was cool. Turns out, the city had built a 13 station exhibit that walks people through the process of creating your own peace crane (sort of like a dove, but cooler) out of paper. A ‘how-to’ origami exhibit designed to make each of us a bit more conscious about the power we have in our lives to make positive change in the world.
Chris and I spent the next 15 minutes going from stone to stone reading the inscriptions and, step by step, folding this once plain square of pink paper into something beautiful. I was proud when I was done – it had worked! The crane actually looked like a crane. And the practice of going through the exhibit had worked as well. I actually felt competely tranquil as we finished and added our cranes to the column in the middle. The first in hopefully a bunch of good lessons to be learned on this trip.
After we were done, Chris and I decided to declare war on Wisconsin.
Slow your roll, people. Slow your roll..