Sir Simon Rattle, the colorful conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, dropped this phrase in an interview I watched of him the other night. He said that his most inspiring teacher and mentor told him to “hurry slowly” and the phrase stuck me in a way that has had me thinking about it for days.

Cape Town robots give one great reflective opportunity to think – they are programmed brilliantly to force you to see the red in every corner of every street . These robots have a mission – to make sure that if you happen to drive through a green light, you will face red for the next 10 . Divine retribution.

What does it mean to hurry slowly? I think it means don’t resist the pace of life, because it underlies an urgency for change. Just take it slowly. Give yourself time to think and digest the deeper story inside the story. I think of a tree reaching it’s branches out to the wide unknown expanse of sky – held by the depth of it’s roots which are held by the dark slow earth.

This phrase has become my mantra these days, and it brings up many feelings as I slow my pace of fast. I wait for the light to change from red to green and think of the changes rather than try to push through them. Let them land in me. They’re full of sadness. There’s a chapter closing and I have no contol over it, only to know, in life’s inimitable wisdom, that when one chapter closes, another opens. It’s a law of life, just as the red light will be followed by green.

Usually these days I am driving to the hospital in central Cape Town, where my mom lies. Her eyes are tired, her cheeks are white, her breath is labored. She knows her children are packing up her home; that she will not return there. She is moving to Caledon to live with her younger daughter, my sister. There’s a small fire that lights up in a fight against others taking control of her life. Then it fades into acceptance, and the red light turns green and I say my mantra and move on with the details.