By “speed” I don’t mean amphetamines, I mean the speed of your life. As a kid I remember getting irritated at my father’s slow driving. I had places to go and things to do and his slow driving was a huge waste of time. My whole life has been one frustration after another at the slow pace some others moved; starting with school of course. Talk about slow and boring!
Nothing changed as an adult either. My first job out of college included a formal training program. The training was conducted at a center that was formerly a private mansion. The grounds were beautiful with a lake and magnificent old trees. My classmates would take breaks and go down by the lake and hang out. I thought they were lazy and unmotivated. Not me. I burned through the training in near-record time and got the hell out of there. I was proud of my speed.
Rushing around from one activity to another, focusing on getting things done, we tend to place all our priorities on accomplishing tasks on our lists – doing routine housework; preparing meals and eating; commuting to work; getting things done at work; putting in time at the gym; driving our kids to soccer games, swimming lessons, and birthday parties; staying in touch with friends; taking the dog to the groomer; and so on. Are you tired yet? In the midst of it all, we become slaves to our to-do lists and become doers instead of be-ers. We give ourselves little or no time feel, to more fully experience much of our lives. We forget that our capacity to feel is the very essence of our vitality. Without feeling, we become zombies or robots, and after a while we are left with a vague sense that our lives are unfulfilled, empty, lacking purpose, and devoid of anything resembling vitality. –Anat Baniel
Maybe it is just wisdom that comes with age, but for whatever reason I have become a convert to and an advocate of slowing down. I still have to fight it sometimes; the urge for speed, but I am getting much better at going slower. It’s time we started slowing down and experiencing life. It’s extremely cliché but we really do need to stop and smell the roses.
I stood still, paralyzed by the beauty and the magic of this moment. Everything stopped, even my breath. Like a sloth, I didn’t want to move. There was nowhere else I needed or wanted to be. Standing there absorbing the beauty of this place, I stepped out of time. In this timeless moment, I saw and felt the unity of all things. There it was all around me: the chaos of the natural world, silently woven into a tapestry of exquisite, perfect order. I felt at one with the trees, rocks, plants, birds, insects, squirrels, leaves, and water. A witness to this sacred scene, I felt humbled and blessed to be given this moment.
So, this is what the slow lane is about, I realized. Sipping and savoring tiny moments, stopping the clock and slipping out of time, feeling my own heart begin to synchronize with the rhythms of nature and being in the presence of the sacred. Not bad learning for a single visit. I can see possibilities here.
And then, the moment ended and time began again. Reluctantly, I headed back to “civilization”. I could hear the ever-present music of the freeway in the distance. Back to business as usual, the world full of cars, trucks and the people inside them; barreling towards their destinies at speeds too fast to notice life. –Judith Rich
How To Slow Down and Enjoy Life
Be Present in the Moment
When you practice being present and being in the moment, you will automatically slow down. Check out my three-part series about living in the now: Living Now – Part I, Living Now – Part II, Live Now – Part III
A great way to slow down and start enjoying life again is to disconnect for a while. It’s tough if you are addicted to your CrackBerry like I am, but you can do it and the resulting sense of freedom is amazing. Turn off the computer, the cell phone, and the PDA. Disconnect from your electronic and virtual world for a few hours, for a day, or maybe even for a week. Do it regularly.
At one time I was going to disconnect one day a week every week. Maybe I’ll really do it this time. My recent vacation when I was disconnected for most of the day every day has inspired me again.
Immerse Yourself In Nature
It’s very difficult to go fast surrounded by nature. Read the passage above by Judith Rich again. Find you a place of your own.
Aside from the other numerous benefits of meditation, it’s a great technique for slowing down. How can you meditate fast?
Slow Mindful Movement
Yoga is great. Check out Movement With Attention.
Listen to Soothing Music
Listen to music that sooths your soul. Stay away from the high-energy stuff when you need to slow down and relax.
Make Time To Be Alone
The demands others make on you is a leading cause of your rushing around hurried lifestyle. Make time to be alone with your thoughts or just to relax and enjoy yourself.
Read These Articles and Resources
How to Slow Down Now (Please Read Slowly)
10 Ways to Slow Down and Still Get Things Done
In Praise of Slowness
Slow Down and Get Smart
Four Day Work Week
Anti-Productivity: 30 Ways To Slow Down and Relax Like a Cat
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