In a world that we live in today, slowing down is not a skill that many can wear comfortably.
Ironically though, we desire deeply to feel ease and comfort in our everyday lives. We do that by pushing away pain and seeking pleasure. This is what causes rush isn’t it? The desire to inhibit in certain mood states, experiences and spaces and the complete dislike in experiencing the difficult, the unpleasant and the uncomfortable. We rush to a safer more comfortable place and lose sight of the fullness life has to offer.
I dread when my kids get sick. I dread having to take days off, having to stay up all night, I dread seeing them in so much pain. And every time they get sick (as all kids do) I spiral into a cycle of fear, anger, and self-loathing. On the other hand, I love when everything goes smoothly at the home front. I love that I have help at home for cooking, cleaning and baby care. I love that I can come back home and spend hours with the kids in complete presence.
Yet, I am waiting, waiting for something to go wrong. Wondering when the next sickness will strike. Have you experienced something like this? When life goes smoothly we often wait in fear, doubt and discomfort for it to get bad.
If I can slow down just a little and look at my discomfort, pain and fear around my kids’ sickness, I can use that as an opportunity to stay deeply present with them, I can take days off to just be there, for my children and myself. I can work my way through fears around sickness, responsibility and priorities.
Slowing down is the answer to living a full and wholesome life, a life where we can sit steadily in the face of hardships and sail smoothly in the face of joy. Only in embracing our lives as they unfold can we get closer to it, transcend hardships that seem to recur, and find meaning in the yucky as much as we find meaning in the yummy aspects of our life. We cannot rush our ways out of difficult spots in our life. Not always.
So, yes, I push away pain and rush into what is pleasurable but just for a week here’s what
I am going to practice and what I invite you to practice in order to slow down just enough to
embrace life as it were.
Every time you feel rushed this week place your hand on your heart and listen to it beat. Stay with your body and the breath. Just for a minute (more if you have the time). That is it.
If you want to go deeper: Place your hand on your heart and allow yourself to gently relax and say to yourself “ I am anchored here, in this experience, just for this moment there is nowhere else I need to be”. Repeat it twice or more until you feel you have slowed down a little.
Our Experiments in Slowing Down will start with micro-movements. Movements that are small, and help us carve just a little space in which you can slow down. That is all. And we can practice them over and over again. I hope that each experiment will find its way into your everyday life and help you slow down just a little.