This was quite a week for me!
After a month and getting only 4 chapters of my novel, Rising, edited (I have 23 altogether), I turned up the gas and finished three in two days. I had planned on keeping this torrid pace until I finished the remaining 13 chapters, but I underestimated how often I could read the same passages.
I'm at a crossroads. In one direction is peaceful feelings and easy goings. In the other direction is hard work and a desperate need to have my novel finished and published.
Perfectionism versus a sloth.
It's hard to see, for the two roads are well traveled, but there is another path between these two, with brambles and trees grown upon it. If the first path leads away from the mountain, the second climbs its face, and this third meanders slowly, but surely, around the mountain's base.
It's the road the tortoise would take. Slow and steady wins the race.
Though the sign has fallen, it has not rotted away. I can still lift it from the ground and read what it says.
“Make Haste Slowly.”
On this path one must watch for low branches and tall burs. Part of the road is washed away, and where the ancient stones remain they are slick with moss. It is not level, but gradually climbs upwards, and then down again. It is not straight, but twists and turns wildly, as if teetering.
The first road merely bends around to the beginning, for you to stare at the choices again, to take it easy, to take it hard, or to take the secretive path. The second road ends at utter exhaustion, for the mountain is forever and the only way down is to fall.
Along the Middle Way you will find fulfillment. You will have traveled carefully enough to appreciate the view, hard enough to build an inner strength, and slow enough to conserve some of your natural vitality.
It's not always easy to know what the right amount of work is. I've continued to be productive this month, yet I've wandered twice now from the Middle Way. Once to the easy path, and when coming back around, making the mistake of climbing the mountain.
It's not that there isn't something on the mountain, or away from it, but I seek something specific far around the bend of stone, hugging close to the cliffs yet not ascending them.
It could be balance, or it could be the path itself.