slow healing, slow medicine, self-love, feel, emotional healing, Nine Domains of Healing, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD

The Treachery of Going Slow


Slow can feel dangerous.

I’ll give you a hint:

When we go slow we feel. When we feel we hurt. When we hurt we may not know what to do.

So instead we go fast. Bypassing the hurt. Staying busy, achieving, climbing the ladder, collecting evidence of our worthiness, numbing what we don’t want to feel.

But here’s the rub:

No pain, no joy. We have to go slow to feel. And we have to feel to experience the exhilaration of being human.

If we want a healing life, we must feel.

We want a healing life. We do. We crave it. We ask for it. But there’s a price.

To show up for this healing life—really show up—we’ve got to go slow and pay attention. And when we go slow and pay attention—really pay attention—we feel. No longer will the intensity and distraction of our fast-paced lives block us from feeling.

This is our challenge—perhaps the greatest challenge of our lives. To allow ourselves to experience the full range of our emotions and learn to trust the wisdom and intelligence they deliver.

“But I do feel,” you say.

You’re probably like so many of us—yes, we do feel, but we’ve learned to control and restrict our feelings, choosing only what’s pleasing, comfortable, not scary. After all, why would we want to feel bad or scared?

But the problem is we can’t choose one without the other.

When we shove down pain, we also lose joy.

The best we can do is some lukewarm approximation of the true glory that is possible. Our emotional censorship invariably comes with that price.

By going slow we get it all, truly feeling. The suffering that is our genius, that brings the truth, that leads to mind-blowing transformation. The joy that lifts us up and lights the world. 

Feeling will make us squirm, will make us suffer, will ask us to face up to difficult truths. But feeling is the only path to deep learning and discovery. It’s the only path to growth. It’s the only path to the grace and magic of our humanness. It’s our connection to the people and world around us.

We must have our emotional genius to be in the true flow of our lives.

The danger of slow is just a story.

The danger of slow is a story, right? Fast is the true danger. The danger of missing out on our lives. Our healing lives. Our exquisite and beautiful lives.

Go slow. Pay attention. Feel. Feel it all. And breathe. We’re all in this beautiful, painful mess together.

Have a Beautiful day!


p.s. From my Archives:

She Reclaimed Her Feelings and Discovered Her Power. 2018.

Jealous: The Heart’s Quest for Belonging. 2017.

p.p.s My e-books to support your journey of healing:

Let Go—The Nine Domains of Healing: Step One. 2018.

Big Energy: How We Bravely Reclaim Our Health, Our Potential, Our Lives—It’s All In Our Stories. 2018.

p.p.p.s. Our on-line healing community, Grit and Grace, where we share the hard work and triumphs of reverent self-care.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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