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Slow Down

slow downSlow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” These lyrics from the 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon and Garfunkel have become my theme. They speak the truth for me - we move too fast. Our days are full of busyness and rushing. Must make breakfast, finish that work project, shuttle the kids to an activity, grocery shopping, dinner to make, and the list goes on and on. The cell phone rings. A text must be answered. A friend is in need. Oh, take a photo of that for the grandparents. We are “hooked up” and constantly on the move. We fall into bed exhausted.

When we are not physically moving, our minds are in constant motion sorting out what needs to happen next, that comment a co-worker made, a frustration, a new idea, and again, the list goes on. Have we become addicted to constantly being in motion, physically, mentally and emotionally?

We have been told over and over again it is good to take time to stop, to take time for ourselves, to quiet our minds. Yet, how do we juggle everything and still do this?

I have asked myself this question again and again over the last number of years. Each time I ask the question, my awareness of my activities grows and I change something. It is a process. What I have realized is that it is the small things that count most. Yes, I have done some radical things as well, which I will mention, but the small things are the glue.

These are the small things I do when I become aware that I am not “breathing.”

  • Walk away from the computer – even for five or ten minutes.
  • Get up and stretch – yes this much talked about piece works for me.
  • Go outside – rain or sun, warm or cold, this works for me. I must admit it is more fun when it is sunny.
  • Pet my dog – stop and pay attention to her and pet her without distraction.
  • Pick up my colored pens and doodle – something about this lets my mind wander and calm.
  • Move to a comfortable chair or lie down on the floor and just relax for a few minutes.
  • Lean up against the tree behind my house or check on my plants (indoor or outdoor).
  • Pay attention to my thoughts and breathe.

I work from home so my list reflects that. When I used to work in a corporate office, I had a different list but they were still simple things that took only minutes to do.

OK, the one radical thing I did was get rid of my super-duper deluxe Iphone. Yes, it could do everything, in fact more than I knew how to use. But, it had begun to rule me. So I ditched it for a track phone, one with paid minutes, that now resides in my car for emergencies. It does not take messages and I keep it turned off. Yes, it was difficult, but for me my quality of life has improved immensely.

Breaking the constant busyness habit is important to me and I work at it daily in small and sometimes not-so-small ways.

Barefoot Labyrinth
Saint Valentine, the Healer