I had some strange meltdowns as a kid.
Like the time I woke up from a nap when I was seven and was convinced that my tongue was overheating. “Go get something from the pharmacy!” I screamed at my dad.
Or the time when I was five and my pet gerbil, Wiggles, wouldn’t let me touch him. “Take him back I don’t want him!”
Or when I was the last kid in kindergarten to lose any teeth and get a visit from the tooth fairy.
So I forced my mom to take me to the dentist.
“But they will come out soon enough, I don’t think we should do this,” urged the dentist.
“Please. Just make him stop. Take out the loose teeth,” my mom pleaded.
“I will have to give him some laughing gas to ease the pain.”
And off I went, on a laughing-gas fueled journey deep into the universe where I met the Jetsons, Martia Brady, and ET the Extra Terrestrial.
“David, David…wake up. You can go home now,” said the dentist as he gave me a little plastic treasure chest with my two teeth.
There’s always something that’s not happening fast enough.
If I could YANK this “something” out of my life like the dentist yanked those teeth out of my mouth, I would!
But as Carlos Petrini famously said when founding the Slow Food movement, “Some things in life, which are crucial to our maturity, cannot be sped up and are only possible if they occur slowly.”
Whether it’s your love life or your career advancement or that looming move to a new place…there’s always old skin that hangs from the edges of our body and mind.
And most of us want to pick at it, tear it off, hurry the process of getting to the next relationship, the next city, the next opportunity, like trying to pop a zit on your face that isn’t ready to ooze.
New beginnings, growth, personal evolution can be a messy and slow process.
As much as mainstream culture wants to show us the shiny way, the beautiful way, the fast way…it’s important to remember that life can be very intense. And slowing down can be very uncomfortable.
My brother grew up with a kid named Sage Stallone. Sage had a celebrity father named Sylvester Stallone. I remember always hearing stories of my brother meeting the real life “Rocky.”
You may have heard that in 2012, Sage Stallone tragically died from a heart attack. It was devastating for Sylvester Stallone, as you might imagine it would be for any father.
Shortly after his son’s death, Stallone was approached by a young writer and director, Ryan Coogler.
He wanted Stallone to star in a movie called Creed, which would be the 7th film in the Rocky franchise. It would draw upon Stallone’s pain, depicting the story of the illegitimate son of Rocky Balboa’s old boxing foe and friend, Apollo Creed.
Set in present-day Philadelphia, the film would explore the city’s vibrant black culture through the eyes of Adonis Creed, who seeks out an aged and ailing Rocky to train him.
Stallone passed. He had no interest. He was still hurting from his son’s death.
But he noticed something in this young director, Ryan Coogler. Said Stallone, “He was unspoiled, unfettered with material success, and he was hungry.”
Stallone’s wife convinced him to do it.
The role required that Stallone would have to face the pain of losing his son.
“You just feel responsible,” he said, of Sage’s death. “That you weren’t there. Here you save all these fictitious people, and you can’t even save your son.”
Once that floodgate opened, he said, his emotions streamed out, shifting both his performance, and his mourning.
Fast forward to 2016. Stallone, infamous for bad acting, just won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.
When the award was announced, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg leaped to their feet to applaud. In fact, the whole audience gave Stallone a standing ovation!
A few weeks from now, Stallone is favored to win the Academy Award in the same category.
As difficult as it was, Sylvester Stallone did the one thing he was trying to avoid: he slowed down, faced his pain, and forever transformed his life.
You can resist and complain about the discomfort of your life and everything this is not happening fast enough.
Or you can take a deep breath and slow things down.
As tempting as it might be to treat your “loose teeth” with a little laughing gas and a quick YANK…
….one has to wonder what nature has in store for the rare soul who dares to trust their journey.