Stand quietly in any wooded place, fingers on your pulse. Now, listen to the squirrels noisily scurrying through the leaves. Observe the yawning sway of the treetops. And if you are so lucky, study the lumbering nonchalance of the moose or bear. The wild has no central beat. Nature is a confusion of tempos, its actors neither apologetic nor resentful.
In humanity, we too live in a world of many rhythms. In fact, our own sense of urgency or need for restfulness varies greatly from day to day and hour to hour. We curse at the driver that speeds past us, despite the fact that we too are sometimes running late. We are maddened by the leisurely pace of the car in front of us, even though we know well what it feels like to be in no particular hurry. From the household, to the office, to the shopping center, to the DMV, we fail to appreciate and respect that others do not share our precise and momentary disposition.
Avoid aggravation by accepting the cadence of others. It begins by recognizing one’s own tempo and being mindful that the circumstances of others bring their own motivations and are wholly removed from our own present mindsets or energy levels. Squirrels, trees, and bears each have their analogues in our daily experience. The people we encounter should be considered – even appreciated – as such. After all, one would never measure the wellness of others by taking one’s own pulse.