Do you live a slow life?
Do you take time to be in the moment and experience the little things?
Think back to the last week and review your actions and mindset. Is your recollection filled with relaxing visions of scented bubble baths, long walks, and sips of steamy coffee over a great book you can’t wait to get lost in?
Or did you visualize your “to do” list that may be getting longer instead of shorter? Did you think of the frustrating hour and a half you spent waiting for a tow truck when your car bit the dust on the way to work? Maybe your memory was of the crazy evenings of rushing home late to throw drive through dinner on the table, clean the house, get everything ready for work and fit in a quick work out before collapsing into bed only to be unable to get to sleep for hours because your brain won’t shut up. (whew, was that really ONE sentence?)
Even little kids have full schedules now, with daycare, school, homework, practices, extracurricular activities and family/social obligations. We rush through the day, running here and there, and end up exhausted. Somehow these days full of duties, obligations and busy-ness have become the norm in our lives. We spend our time doing things we don’t really want to do, yet feel we should. We’ve developed a belief that being productive and getting things done while sacrificing our health and happiness is what it’s all about.
What IS it all about?
If you really stop to think about it, our time on Earth is VERY brief. Aren’t our limited moments too precious to be spent rushing around doing things we don’t even feel passionate about?
I think they are. In 2011, I quit a job I’d assumed (up until the moment I quit) I’d retire from. Since then, I have somehow ended up living the kind of life I’d only DREAMED about. I never thought it could really happen, but it IS. I have a business with the love of my life, doing work I love. The business has allowed me to have more “me” time to focus on OTHER things I love and am passionate about. I get up each day with enthusiasm and a sense of well-being.
That is SO different from when I used to drag myself out of bed, DREADING the next 8 hours of being trapped in a cubicle, doing some mind-numbing task all day. I used to look forward to coming home so I could do what I wanted, but of course by the time I’d get home, I was too drained emotionally and spiritually to do anything but collapse into bed and dread doing the same thing for the rest of my days.
I know not everybody can just quit their job to do whatever they want. My situation worked out well for me, but it isn’t a one size fits all fix. I DO believe everybody can start making small changes towards creating the kind of life they really desire.
My own experience didn’t start out with the immediate, spontaneous quitting of the job. It had started a few years earlier with the tiny thought that there might be more to life. So, I started little experiments and life changes to find out what that might be, and ultimately it led me to quit my job.
Living slow is possible. It begins with a small mindset change.
Stop mindlessly doing what you’ve been doing and just look around for a moment. What about your life do you love? What do you hate? What doesn’t really matter to you at all?
Figure that out first, then start rearranging.
Those things you hate, you know, the ones you thought about above? GET RID OF THEM!!! Stop focusing on them. Instead start focusing on those things you LOVE.
Do the things that make you happy FIRST.
MAKE TIME for your passions.
Start creating a lifestyle that is balanced and healthy. It starts with downsizing the obligations we place upon ourselves so easily. By eliminating some and un-prioritizing others, we can start to lessen our load which magically INCREASES our down time.
Even when we must do many things in a day, we can still change the quality of the day by HOW we chose to do those tasks.
Start paying attention to each of your actions during the day, and really BE in that moment so you can be mindful of what you are doing. Here’s a good example of how to do that. When you get up in the morning, turn on the coffee as usual, but instead of walking away to do whatever you usually do…STOP.
Take a deep breath and just stand there, relaxing while you enjoy the sound of the coffee brewing and the delicious smell of it. When it is done, notice the dark splash as you pour it into a cup. Watch the swirl of creamer as you stir. Slowly bring the cup to your mouth, inhaling the aroma and anticipate the taste. Pause a moment with your eyes closed and breathe in and out before taking that first sip.
Wow, don’t you just feel more relaxed IMAGINING doing it like that? I know I do!! Let’s make a choice to start living each moment like that from now on.
Where else can we find ease during stressful moments? How else can we cultivate the art of going slowly? I am constantly learning new ways to de-stress and up-lift my actions. The KEY is being conscious. Being aware. Enjoying. Taking time to live life slow.
I love to hear from you. If you can, take a moment to write down your own ideas on how you can get slow in your life in the comment section below.