Archives for posts with tag: slow things down

I woke this morning, early, with a stern parental shout still ringing in my ears from my dream, “Slow down in this house! It’s not a race!” I turned off the alarm before it went off, and got up – making a point to indeed actually slow myself down; there’s simply no need to rush.

I make a point of planning my time so that I don’t need to rush in the mornings. This morning I made a point to really take that one to heart in a more mindful way, not just by counting on having more minutes before departure time, but also seriously slowing myself down. Meditation without a timer. Lingering in the sensuous warmth of the shower. Brushing my teeth awake and aware, and enjoying the sensation of tooth-brushing-as-a-process. Letting the casual touch of hand to skin as I dressed become something more like an appreciative caress. I spend a lot of a time with the woman in the mirror – I have no good reasons for treating her poorly, dismissively, or in any way lacking affection. I am enjoying the morning, slowly, patiently, attentively.

Making my coffee this morning became a further exploration of mindfully caring for myself. No stress. No pressure to achieve perfection. That’s not at all the point of mindful self-care; it’s just about being right here, right now, doing these things with great care, and great awareness, savoring the processes of life, itself. My coffee is exceptionally good today, without any particular additional effort; I simply made a point of showing up ‘in person’ – real, and awake, and aware, and comfortable with doing this thing, right now, with my whole attention.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

A great coffee in the morning is a practice, a ritual, a measure of time, and a way to take care of me.

Right now, too. This process is the one about writing a few words in the morning, getting my intellect and my heart synced up for the day, and moving forward together – if not with some plan in mind, at least able to capitalize on what I am learning, and able to understand that there is always more to this than what I think I know, and that we are each having our own experience. This moment in the morning, when I am most likely to write, is my opportunity to reflect, to gain perspective, and to do it in a safe space with good ground rules that protect me from poor practices, OPD, and self-defeating rumination. (When I write in the evenings, it is often because I am in emotional pain, and reacting to circumstances using any practical tools at hand to get a grip on myself – it’s quite different.) When I sit down very inspired, I sometimes fail myself on practicing good self-care practices, losing myself in the moment, slumped over my keyboard, leaning into the visual space of the monitor, typing away aggressively, enthusiastically, brains spilling all over fingers, becoming words – this morning, although I feel inspired, I approach my desk, and this process, with consideration for this fragile vessel. I begin with deliberation, and deep breaths. I am attentive to my posture. The resulting writing may not be of any different quality – but my back hurts less, I am making fewer spelling mistakes, and struggling less with my dying mouse.

When I rush through things, I make more mistakes, miss details, and feel a greater sense of urgency that generally becomes a more noteworthy amount of stress. This is an important detail, this morning; it is Monday. Time to get back to work after a long weekend. Definitely having the sense that my employer may have begrudged me the time I needed for me, there’s the temptation to rush into things. I could have gotten up quickly, thrown on my clothes after a bracing shower, and quickly marched into the office to become a good productive cog in the corporate machinery, getting a ‘head start’ on all the work I had ‘fallen behind’ on… just thinking the thoughts got my heart racing a little, my breathing became more shallow, my body began to prepare for fight or flight… Shit, it’s just a job! It does not require all that. So – yes. I slowed things down this morning, because there’s no reason to rush; it’s not a race. Remember ‘the rat race’? Sure, it’s still going – it’s a real thing, and lots of people participate, consuming themselves over the course of a lifetime for whatever pittance is paid to them for their trouble. My opinion? No amount of cash is enough to sacrifice the pleasure of really living life. Even my work suffers, when I rush myself. So… I’ve stopped racing. I’ll just walk this one, thanks. (It’s not as if there were ever any chance of ‘winning’ the rat race. “The cake is a lie.”) 🙂

Time well-spent following my own path.

Time well-spent following my own path.

The weekend was lovely. Long forest hikes among lush greenery, on twisting paths, up hills, and down…and relaxed evenings spent on creative endeavors. It mattered to get out among the trees. It mattered to have the powerful reminder in the ever-present sounds of distant traffic that the thing I was trying to escape is something I carry with me. It mattered to take a few days just for me, no interruptions from work, or routine communication from loved ones, or urgent pressure to get this or that done. My only fixed agenda being to take the very best care of me. It mattered to me to spend time sketching, writing, painting. I sought stillness – and I found it. Strangely, I found it at home, and within myself, to my very great delight (after the frustration of discovering I could not easily escape the sounds of traffic)…and yes, there are verbs involved (and my results varied).

The journey doesn't always take me far from home.

The journey doesn’t always take me far from home.

I reset my expectations of myself over the weekend. Had some important conversations with the woman in the mirror about how she makes use of her time. Set some important boundaries with myself about time, and what I want most of that precious limited commodity. When I am feeling more than usual stress, the easy thing is more distractions: YouTube videos, favorite t.v. shows, movies, Facebook… I can kill a lot of time with any one of those things. There’s no constructive point, later, in moaning about “not having enough time for me” if I am letting brain candy soak up those minutes of lifetime that could be spent meditating, relaxing in a hot bath, gardening, writing, reading, enjoying the company of friends in my actual presence doing some actual thing… It’s down to the verbs and the choices. It is sometimes necessary to slow myself down, to be aware of how quickly the time does pass. Being rushed stresses me out…slowing things down generally has quite the opposite result, and I face Monday feeling calm and prepared, unworried, patient with myself and the world, and feeling well-rested and well-cared-for. I found the stillness in the spaces between other things, once I slowed down enough to notice it waiting for me there.

A helpful change in perspective, and time spent listening deeply to my own heart, is a good place to find inspiration - and stillness.

A helpful change in perspective, and time spent listening deeply to my own heart, is a good place to find inspiration – and stillness.

Today is a good day for stillness, for calm, and for slowing things down long enough to savor both in the moment. Today is a good day to enjoy living life – without rushing through to the end. Today is a good day to decline urgency, in favor of appreciation, and to refuse to be hurried in order to enjoy right now. Today is a good day to slow down enough to enjoy the world.

 

 

Sometimes growth and progress feel a bit like a fancy pattern of dominoes lined up carefully in a row, standing, waiting…for one small push, and having received it, they topple one into the next, as necessary as breathing, to a conclusion that sometimes both surprises, and also seems rather obvious.

Yesterday was a good day. It was not without emotion, but emotions were not overwhelming or disabling me. Work was work. Home was home. I was feeling a tad on the practical and ‘no  nonsense’ side by the time I got home. Still, it was a pleasant evening of hanging out. Uneventful. Calm.

I felt inspired off and on, and excited to explore new thinking on old pain…and took notes all day. Looking those notes over this morning, there is an evident thread of hurt and frustration woven through the narrative of the day that only shows up in the brief, sometimes terse, observations that although significant seeming, were a distraction from the workload facing me. I look back on them and wonder how much of it is truly relevant; damn little of it is at all inspiring now. I am at a place in life where it would certainly be a goodness to give up day-to-day employment to focus on my own needs and agenda…but our society isn’t really set up that way, and the financial obligations of adulthood find me continuing to maintain employment.

I’m committed to slowing things down a bit, and taking care of me. The timing is right for planning the upcoming hiking/camping for the year, and I enjoy the planning and anticipation, itself. I’m eager to be out among the trees, in the stillness, just being. Quiet and content, and able to hear my own thoughts for more than 5 minutes at a time…trees rustling in breezes…small creatures approaching with cautious curiosity…home. This week I think I made a small breakthrough with regard to emotional self-sufficiency, love, lust, and sexual needs. Explaining it well would require words I have not yet mastered, but I feel more connected within myself, which has apparently been holding me back of late. There’s some other stuff, important on the inside… perspective… identity… self… other… (and much, much more!)

I didn’t sleep well last night. Meditation sort of… consumed a bunch of time unexpectedly. Then there were some lovely minutes of cuddling. Then… I was awake. Awhile. A long while. No fussing or anxiety to it, I just wasn’t sleeping. I went back to meditating at a number of points, which I have been finding definitely keeps the anxiety at bay. I feel okay this morning. I know I’ll be tired tonight. Managing good self-care throughout the day will be critical, and I make a point of taking note of that need for attentive self-care, and set a small number of extra reminders for today; later on I may not be my sharpest.

Here it is another day. Will I learn something new? Will I make good choices and treat others well? Will love find me in some unexpected moment? Will sorrow? I hear the espresso machine in the background and I think of love… and coffee. Today is a good day to make good choices. Today is a good day to take the time to take care of me. Today is a good day to slow down for a moment, and really just savor it. Today is a good day to change my experience.

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path... what will I see?

Taking the journey with my eyes open, and walking a mindful path… what will I see?