Slow As A Snail Ain’t So Bad…

"Wisely and Slowly. They Stumble that run fast." (pencil drawing by Diane Mottl - Beingtrulypresent.com)We have been going through  a record deep freeze where all you want to do is hunker down until Mother Nature decides she’s had enough fun watching us freeze our kahoona’s off and turns up the temperature. The crappy weather left me feeling sluggish and not at all motivated to do a drawing this week. So when I saw this snail (slug carrying his house – smile) slowly sliming its way up a step, I thought, perfect!

With only a scratched outline of the drawing completed, I was already jumping ahead to what I could write. Something about holding on and moving forward no matter how slow your progress seems to be, I thought. Even though a little voice in my head said, you just wrote about that, I pushed it aside. Instead I kept drawing, thinking ahead to a quote I might be able to pair with it.

I continued to draw in this disconnected way, feeling a clock ticking in my head reminding me of how little time I had to finish the drawing and squeeze in time — somewhere, anywhere — to write a post. I sped up, I rushed. And I dug myself in even deeper: the drawing didn’t turn out to my liking.

I smudged, I erased, but no matter what I did I couldn’t turn it into something that I wanted to put on my blog. I thought about drawing something else, but I knew I did not have the time. So, I swallowed my pride and inserted it into a blank page on my computer and stared at it, waiting to get inspired to write something.

Okay, “waiting to be inspired” isn’t being entirely honest. Rushing myself to get inspired was more like it. Trying not to focus on what I didn’t like about the drawing was more like it. Kicking myself for drawing something that reminded me of a post I did a few weeks ago and not having a clue what to write about, was more like it.

Desperate, I decided to Google symbolism of a snail. Gotta be something there, I thought. The first website I saw had the heading Symbolic Snail Meaning for Tattoo Ideas. I caught myself smirking, thinking a snail would not be the tattoo of choice for me (my apologies to the person reading who has one. I’m sure it is very nice, so please don’t click and leave). Here is what the first two paragraphs said:

“The snail is the steady-as-she-goes symbol of nature. Slowly but surely, the snail gets to her destination, and this can be a prime point in snail tattoo ideas, especially if you want to convey steady progress on your life-path. Snail shells are typically spiral in nature. Spirals are symbolic of expanding consciousness. Alternatively, spirals can also imply a process of going within (spiraling inward) to seek inner consciousness for answers.”

Hmmm, I thought to myself, my foot tapping and my fingers drumming on the desk.  I could write something about “steady progress on your life-path”. That shouldn’t take too long. Or is that still too much like the last post? Maybe something really deep about the “process of going within to seek inner consciousness”. Nah, that would take more time and energy than I have right now.”

So, I went back to the snail and tattoo page to see if anything else jumped out. And there it was. Under the heading Symbolic Snail Meanings. Second one down: Being Grounded. Sixth one down: Patience.

And I couldn’t help but laugh, since being grounded and patient were two things I definitely did not have while trying to draw and write this blog post. Is it any surprise that my drawing looks and feels rushed? That I struggled to write?

It was just what I needed to remind me that the creative muse living within me needs me to be grounded and patient or she will refuse to come out and play. When I’m in rush, rush, rush mode, speeding this way and that, I am not grounded. I am not present. In that frazzled state, I may manage to get a few items ticked off the ol’ To Do List, but at what cost?

Maybe something can be learned from Mr. Slow-and-Steady-Patient-Grounded Snail. He may be one of the slowest creatures on the entire planet, but when his “rushing” speed maxes out at 50 yards per hour, I’m guessing he gets to smell the roses all the time.

 “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” — Eddie Cantor

“Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while you are waiting.” —  Joyce Meyer

“Now and then it’s good to pause in your pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” — Guillaume Apollinaire

“If you’re having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of creativity. It has allowed me to open up — to know that there’s life under the earth and that I have to let it come through me in a new way. Creativity exists in the present moment. You can’t find it anywhere else.” — Natalie Goldberg

“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.” — John De Paola

“Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time. — Jon Kabat-Zinn

“No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.” — Taoist Proverb

13 Responses to “Slow As A Snail Ain’t So Bad…”

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  1. Cathy says:

    Hi Diane–Love this post!
    Cathy

  2. Amy says:

    You are so talented, and I love how your words and art have a way of speaking directly to my soul. Thanks for another great post!

  3. Jan says:

    Love this post, and as I was perusing the site I saw the drawings. Are you the artist? They are fantastic. Charcoal on lead have a place in my heart. xox

  4. Kimba says:

    I agree with Greg – that last proverb really resonates. It seems like I was nothing but rushing water in my younger years, being still is definitely an acquired skill.

  5. Norah Colvin says:

    I agree with the snail about slowing down. Often when I rush I end up taking longer because I have dropped something or missed something. Had I taken my time in the first place it would have been done well and in ample time.

  6. Grounding is really very important, for me as well. My element is earth, so make of that what you will, but it makes the connection even stronger for me. This is really a great reminder. I chuckled as I read your words. I myself sometimes try to rush, and it never ends well. Great post again. This is one of my absolute favorite weekly reads, never stop sharing. :)

  7. Greg Mischio says:

    Great Diane – so true. Love the last taoist proverb.

  8. Another enjoyable post to start my Monday morning. Love the symbolism of the snail and we could all profit from being a bit more snail-like in life.

  9. Such juicy inspiration here! I love how the drawings come to you by just being open to what is going on around you. It’s not always easy to stay in that place of just being open, especially when you are so inspired! (Must confess, however, I know that feeling of panic! It comes to me on Wednesday evenings…)

    Another great post, Diane, with so many wonderful quotes, I couldn’t possible pick a favorite. Thank you for providing my weekly Monday morning inspiration!

  10. oyekanmi says:

    I love this!!!
    “The snail is the steady-as-she-goes symbol of nature. Slowly but surely, the snail gets to her destination, and this can be a prime point in snail tattoo ideas, especially if you want to convey steady progress on your life-path. Snail shells are typically spiral in nature. Spirals are symbolic of expanding consciousness. Alternatively, spirals can also imply a process of going within (spiraling inward) to seek inner consciousness for answers.”

    No hurry in life, No hurry in the fulfillment of destiny. “Those who engage in Hurry habit end up with different forms worries”

  11. Emily says:

    Great sketch! I definitely need to be more mentally snail-like. Take each movement for what it is and not rush through life. Great post!

  12. Jan says:

    Hi Diane – this post reminds me of one of my favorite adages “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” which I believe is also Taoist. Love the quote about running water versus still water. Jan