volume and velocity car gauges

Volume and Velocity

For many of the humans that I work with, two of the biggest needs that I observe are the need to slow down and to gently let go.

When we slow down, we think more clearly and can listen to our innate wisdom. We make better decisions when we are truly present.

And when we gently let go, we reserve the space for creativity and life to flow once more. We make way for insight to unfold.

The prospect of living lighter, with a clear mind and abundant creative energy is appealing, right?

Of course it is – but here we are a few thousand years on, feeling as though clarity, wisdom, insight and creativity are scarce resources reserved only for the highest mountains and deepest rivers. Sometimes we even outsource these gifts to external agencies or other departments – as if somewhere along the path we forgot that they were a natural part of our own inbuilt operating system.

We find ourselves, today, born into a narrative that prizes volume and velocity.

Or in other words – we inherit the story that we must go further, faster. Fit more in, in less time. Go big or go home. Do more. See more. Be more. Have it all.

coffee being poured into a cup overflowing

We are in a narrative where the volume of “things”, or the speed by which we can acquire them are the benchmarks of our worthiness. We have become like the machines that once served us, squeezing more components in, utilising the increasingly cluttered spaces in our mind, just to produce more widgets at breakneck speed. With as little ‘downtime’ as possible.

Whew! Slow down there, cowboy.

It’s a message that flows from so many sources – our culture, ideologies, workplaces, advertising and even our school system. From the age of around 4 years when you first grasp language, mathematics and you experience the toxicity of social comparison – you are thrust into a school environment where:
• The more knowledge that you can acquire and the speed with which you can recall the correct answer determine your “grade”.
• The faster, further or higher you go at the sports carnival, the more attention and social recognition you get.

old photo of father holding young son up holding trophy

A-grades and first place ribbons.
Volume and velocity.

Then as adults, we look up one day as we are stuck in the traffic jam of our voluminous thoughts, wondering when the rat race began and why we began sprinting when the starter’s gun fired.

Did anyone bother to check who was holding the starter’s gun? Or were we all simply too distracted by the start of the race?

start of running race with starters gun

There are some curious stories in our culture that continue to be perpetuated about how we ‘should’ be living.

In terms of volume, many narratives suggest that in order to be happy you must accumulate:
• Money
• Experiences
• Intelligence
• Friends
• Likes and followers
• Power
• Status
• Lovers
• Things…things…things…

In terms of velocity:
• You must acquire all these things faster, travel further, and squeeze more in than your parents, neighbours, friends, or siblings did.

It’s a doozy of a question to ask yourself: Why do you really want the things that you want?

I’ll just leave some space here for that question to sink in…



These are a few of my favourite things

Of course, there is nothing wrong with things or experiences. Wanting for them is quite natural. Challenges arise though, when we become attached to this stuff. Things come and go, as do experiences, but when we hold onto them like our lives depend on them, we suffer.

Let us not forget that thoughts, emotions and beliefs are also things. And we cling to these with just as much ownership as the physical forms in our lives. It is an incredible gift to be able to gently let go of thoughts, emotions and beliefs that no longer serve you. Somewhere along the road from child to adult though, we forget that “beliefs” are just grown-up versions of “stories”.

sand castle with moat eroding

All of this inner and outer ‘material’ arises like castles in the sand that will decay in the fullness of time.
Never forget that you created the castles of your beliefs. A large bucket of water drawn from the source itself will go a long way to dissolving these mind-created castles. Pour it over when you are ready.

If our children can so freely and joyfully create castles one day, knowing they will be gone the next, why do we struggle so much as adults to let go?

The words of Poet Christopher may help us understand such misgivings and the illusion of possession.

image from justpo.st

Take a deep breath – and gently let go

We will experience around 750 million cycles of breath in our lifetime.

Breathing in…letting go…breathing out.

And the longer you hold onto each breath, the more warning lights start flashing within your body.

I often wonder if one of the great cosmic jokes God played on us was to give us the answers we seek in simple, plain sight. Something so simple that every human being could access, like the breath of life.

Breathing invites us in. Then gently invites us to let go, making space for what is to come. In many ways, breathing teaches us that life and death are the most natural occurrences. In and out. Full then empty. Perfect like the waves of the ocean.

When we can be grateful for a simple breath, anything is possible.

hand holding sparkler above water surface underneath ocean

Mind, Body, Heart

I wish the following was taught at school. Maybe they did teach it and I was too distracted to notice its importance in later life. None the less, volume and velocity have a profound impact on our mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

Anxiety arises when there is a large volume and velocity of unhelpful thought, compressed into a narrow amount of time. When your mind is racing, your body frantically tries to keep up. Some refer to this as the downward spiral of consciousness or awareness. It starts with a low quality thought that we pay more and more attention to, spawning a garden of like-minded negative thoughts until the garden-bed of our mind is overcrowded with mental weeds. If you experience anxiety or negative emotions – they are always an indicator that you are experiencing low-quality thought.

What we forget, however, is that our thoughts are simple psychological compounds that dissolve like waves into the ocean of presence. When we stop trying to manage the waves and we let them go, we find underlying peace. The stillness of a much deeper ocean.

You are much more than those waves – no matter how distracting they may be on the surface.

rolling sea waves ocean

Our bodies see the impact of volume and velocity. For those who feel that their worth is proved by their ‘doing’, their body will eventually have something on the contrary to say. When we put our bodies through too much, too quickly, something inevitably breaks. It is so damn addictive though – doing, doing, doing. And it makes total sense when the more you ‘produce’, the more material rewards you obtain. We get so addicted to the praise and approval of our works, that we will break the precious vessel of our body to sustain such a high output.

This approach of ‘doing’ life at maximum speed, red lining it for as long as possible seems to pay dividends early in life. We get rewarded for burning the candle at both ends. However, what works for us in the first half of life rarely works for us in the second half.

“THOROUGHLY UNPREPARED, WE TAKE THE STEP INTO THE AFTERNOON OF LIFE. WORSE STILL, WE TAKE THIS STEP WITH THE FALSE PRESUPPOSITION THAT OUR TRUTHS AND OUR IDEALS WILL SERVE US AS HITHERTO. BUT WE CANNOT LIVE THE AFTERNOON OF LIFE ACCORDING TO THE PROGRAM OF LIFE’S MORNING, FOR WHAT WAS GREAT IN THE MORNING WILL BE LITTLE AT EVENING AND WHAT IN THE MORNING WAS TRUE, AT EVENING WILL HAVE BECOME A LIE.”

Carl Jung

Let it go, let it go

Isn’t it funny how we love to collect stuff. Material things and possessions come to mind easily when we consider what we might accumulate.

And while indeed, it is better to give than it is to receive, there is something far more weighty that we tend to cling to or carry for too long.

Our thoughts and beliefs.

When I talk about helping the people I work with to slow down and let go, the most powerful changes come from releasing outdated beliefs. Storylines that may have served you well as a child or young adult, but no longer apply. Memories or thoughts that you have buried like a treasure chest, only to be found empty and of little worth upon excavation.

A belief or story line, like a thought, is only preserved whilst you pay attention and put energy into it.

Mo Willems said:

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave”.

It feels hard to do though, doesn’t it? To walk away from a certain narrative that you may have repeated for years.

Just like material possessions, if your identity is attached to a certain ‘story of your life’ that you can’t get let go of, then you are likely not as free as you might think.

It’s hard to let go of the possessions that are your beliefs. After all, we become so attached to our beliefs as compasses for what is right or wrong, for where we are allowed to go or which paths we must avoid.

If you slow down the narrative enough though, the words will lose their potency and you will finally remember who the author of that narrative is.

It is you.

hands holding loose sand blowing in wind

The capacity to let go of a belief or narrative with the same ease by which it was created, is to live in harmony with the Creator. Words are as easily erased as they are written.

Volume and velocity are King and Queen…until we see that their castle is made of sand.

chess pawn with crown on

May you find peace and joy in the presence of slowing down.
And may you find the space to create new narratives, as you gently let go of the old ones that no longer serve you.


The Fisherman and the Business Man – Heinrich Boll (Source)

fisherman on the shore with nets and family

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.” The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Investors see it time and time again. A company announces record breaking quarterly profits. Billion dollar growth. Unprecedented results! Instantly...
Read More
Noise Cancelling Head Zones

Noise Cancelling Head Zones

Do you have a pair of noise cancelling headphones? Most people do. Or at least a pair of headphones they...
Read More
Numbness – is this going to hurt?

Numbness – is this going to hurt?

5 weeks ago I had all four wisdom teeth removed. It took me less than a second to tell the...
Read More
0.3% FEAR

0.3% FEAR

Why are we so afraid to dance in front of each other?  Particularly colleagues. At least not without half a...
Read More
Are You Consuming or Creating?

Are You Consuming or Creating?

Stop! Before you read another word, it’s time to drop the labels. If you start thinking “I’m not really a...
Read More
Not Normal

Not Normal

Do you really want to be normal? Many systems, cultures and beliefs point to other types of intelligence. For those...
Read More
It’s About Time

It’s About Time

“Concentrate on yourself. Whatever you are, is all you can give away. That’s very simple. You open your wallet, you...
Read More
It starts and ends with gratitude

It starts and ends with gratitude

The great irony - as far back as humans have existed, is that we have turned to the sky for...
Read More
The Answer My Friend…

The Answer My Friend…

According to Bob Dylan, “the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” It was 8:45am on a Monday morning....
Read More
THIS is true

THIS is true

“This is true” my wife said. On Sunday 27th June I was returning from a walk with my wife, accompanied...
Read More
A Whole In My Heart

A Whole In My Heart

My youngest daughter just broke me. I was in the car having just collected the kids from school, listening to...
Read More
“But I don’t know how…”

“But I don’t know how…”

The "how to" challenge has been solved by Google and YouTube. It is no longer a challenge or an excuse....
Read More
Ignaz Semmelweis

Ignaz Semmelweis

What is it with the explorer types and their extravagant names? Ignaz Semmelweis Tenzing Norgay Amerigo Vespucci James Cook Ok...
Read More
Nothing Happened

Nothing Happened

When mistakes turn into learnings, we often get the choice to cry, get angry and frustrated or to just laugh...
Read More
Volume and Velocity

Volume and Velocity

For many of the humans that I work with, two of the biggest needs that I observe are the need...
Read More
Top 10

Top 10

Someone is discovering the Beatles for the first time, right now, and is losing their mind at how incredible the...
Read More
I don’t have time for this right now

I don’t have time for this right now

The reason you don’t have time for “this” right now……is because YOU choose not to have time for “this”. YOU...
Read More
Less is More

Less is More

Do you believe it? It is such a powerful insight. So deep and intricate in its simplicity.   We’ve all...
Read More
You don’t have to believe to belong

You don’t have to believe to belong

What if…. You stopped trying to "keep it out" and also stopped trying so hard to "let it in." And...
Read More
{"slide_show":3,"slide_scroll":1,"dots":"true","arrows":"true","autoplay":"true","autoplay_interval":3000,"speed":600,"loop":"true","design":"design-1"}

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Consider subscribing if you don’t want to miss it when new posts go up!!