I seem to always have a ‘to do’ list, do you too? I pride myself on getting the job done and have in my past glorified the ‘look how busy I am’, to what was for many years an acceptable norm. But I question why is it that in this day and age we are so accustomed to speed up and fit in so much. Why not slow it down?
Over the past two years, I have been trying to slow down. A few months ago I said to my eldest daughter, “if you do something, do it once, with your full attention and then you can move onto the next thing”. I had a light bulb moment. One, I continued to play on repeat inside my usual over thinking and supercharged mind.
We’ve all heard the saying “to speed up, you must first slow down”. I don’t know who came up with it, but only until recently, this quote would have sailed in one ear and out the other. Have you ever rested with this concept?
I’ll confess, I’m guilty, always expecting the next move and looking at and referring to the ‘to do’ list. Maybe I should focus on a ‘what not to list’. I squeeze in a lot, life is busy with work, kids, activities, cleaning, washing, cooking, socialising, gardening… it’s exhausting just to read this, and the worst thing? It goes on!
But more than this list of ‘to do’, have you ever found yourself robbed of enjoyment when you take the time to slow down? That moment you find your mind drifting back to all that stuff on your list? If you’re nodding, then you, my friend, are not alone!
Why is it I can offer a sage piece of advice to my children, yet fail so many times to see this for myself? I’m left wondering now too!
I’ve discovered that when I slow down, appreciate the simplicity of a moment, am intentional with what is to be done or the lack thereof for just being, that there is a certain clarity that happens in my attention.
From a comment, that I said to my daughter at the time of her despair, I ended up schooling myself and realised, that whilst I may have been trying to slow things down, I wasn’t.
The result from resting with this quote and pondering where it leads….
- Time – our most precious commodity! Why would we want to speed up and dilute it any less?
- Go slow – be intentional and notice the energy you bring to this moment.
Why do we so often find ourselves in a rush to be here and there, do this or that? How about, sit down, take a break and breathe? I mean this isn’t about bolting for the hills, with your Sunday track pants on and living on a yoga mat (as much as I’d like that). This is about the fact that life will pass us by one day, so why on earth would we waste more time anxious, stressed, rushed, diluting or causing ourselves more overwhelm.
How about taking the time to connect with these moments, focus on your kids, or yourself! How about you pick that ‘one thing’ and do it, rather than rushing around and stressing about how you will get everything done? If you, like me are questioning yourself by how much richer things might be, if you did ‘slow down’, would your world fall apart? Or, would your life become less complicated and a little softer around the edges when you allow and take part in the natural ebbs and flows of daily life.
I love this quote from Brene Brown:
“Joy comes to us in ordinary moments.
We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
How about trying some of these steps to make a start with going a little slower?
- Go slow, I dare you – it takes a level of constant engagement with an over thinking mind, telling yourself to quiet and slow down. Be gentle with yourself, this is a good first step.
- Find pleasure in everything you do, know that you will never have this moment again.
- If you don’t like a particular something, change it!
- Do less – remember it’s okay to say no, not today, or this week.
- Appreciate nature – watch the wind in the trees, look at a flower, or the sun dance across the water. Witnessing mother nature for a break can have a profound effect on what can otherwise be a small, mundane or overwhelming task.
- Focus on your engagement with people, look them in the eye, see them. You may be the first person in their day to do so. It can change another person’s day and yours for the better.
- Be tactile, feel the grass under your feet or the sand beneath your toes, the keyboard under your fingers, or that hot cuppa at your lips.
- Breathe… What your body does for you automatically, can have a profound effect when done intentionally.
What do you like to do to slow down? Leave us a comment to share with the community.
Article by: Linda McIntosh