SPEED KILLS: Slowing Down in a Frenetic World


Those of us who went through our adolescence during the 1960’s might remember the warning SPEED KILLS which was associated with the drug methamphetamine. As thousands of youth were exploring the realms of altered consciousness with LSD, and other mind-altering drugs, meth became known as a drug that destroyed the mind and body. A prophetic warning which today still plagues our fast-paced society, numbing and destroying the health of many. Yet the form of the drug has transformed into addictions other than drugs, such as over-consumption, excessive work, hours of internet and television and other mind-numbing activities that disconnect us from who we are. With the massive proliferation of information constantly being fed to our computers and mobile devices, there is little time to find moments for solitude and self-reflection in  our lives. The study of indigenous cultures reveals that what helped keep the individual as well as the community healthy involved storytelling, dancing, singing, and silence.

How can we reclaim what it is to be a human being and embrace the paradox of a finite human and infinite being. Where do the healing salves of storytelling, dancing, singing, and silence take place in our lives. How can we cultivate communities that support our aliveness and keep us from shutting down?

In the 21st century storytelling, might take the form of writing from the heart, acting in a local play, or an open mike performance at a local coffee house. Dancing could be attending a rave or ballroom dancing, while singing might be turning up the music in one’s home and singing with abandonment. And silence might be a long walk in nature, taking up a meditation practice, or turning off the radio while driving the car and bringing awareness to what is happening in the moment. The intention to slow down might reveal a spaciousness to cultivate healing in your own life as well as our communities. I reflect back to another prophetic moment in my own life when I was nineteen and hitchhiking along the Big Sur coast of California. As I was waiting for a lift, I noticed someone on the back of a highway sign had scratched the words, “Dig the Slowness!”