Do You Ever Slow Down?

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~ Mohandas Gandhi

I was once a Type-A, uber-competitive, hyper-driven professional. It brought me power, money, success, titles, global travel, and vast corporate responsibilities. It also almost claimed my life, physically, spiritually and emotionally. To this day, I am grateful that I finally took action on my misalignment.

Tell me otherwise: Our lives have become increasingly fast-paced, and the effort to keep up often occupies all of our time and attention. We are so busy rushing from point A to point B that we forget to enjoy the proverbial ride. We race to the store without noticing the leaves on the trees or clouds in the skies (and the clouds in New Mexico are unrivaled). At the end of a day filled with this kind of frantic pace, we may begin to wonder what it is we do all these things for, if we don’t even have time to occasionally stop and just take it in.

Constantly rushing doesn’t allow for your soul to enjoy life, which is composed of small, ordinary moments – like watching snow fall from the sky, having a spontaneous conversation with a stranger, or lingering over a meal for several hours. I fondly recall spending an entire afternoon and early evening with a family in the Italian Alps, just eating, drinking, laughing and conversing. And then eating more. 🙂

Smaller towns and the people who inhabit them can teach us all a thing or two about living life to the fullest as a daily matter. Urban residents have a tendency to think that their lives are full because they are doing so many things, but in more rural areas there tends to be more time left open to be spontaneous or take an extended moment of rest. This doesn’t mean that we can’t live in cities and enjoy life fully – we can and do, it just takes a little more awareness.

It doesn’t matter where we live, we can create awareness breaks in our day and take ten minutes to simply look out the window and observe what’s happening outside. We might also choose to cultivate a relationship with someone we see regularly, such as a clerk at a convenience store, a neighbor, or someone we see in a cafeteria at work. Taking time to have a thoughtful conversation is not necessarily a luxury in today’s world, as is staring out a window. Timelessness can make us feel a little more human.

Interested in intentionally slowing down? Consider these three actions:

  1. Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time and energy?” Take a breath, slow down and reconnect with what is most important. Calm and focused energy and effectiveness replaces the stressed energy of a mind that is going too fast for its own good. As you slow down, it becomes easier to find a healthy perspective and to think things through in a clear and calm way.
  2. Create a tech-free zone in your home for one day a week. (Okay, start with an afternoon). Unplug the laptop, iPad, Blackberry, mobile phone, whatever has you hooked up and connected to cyberspace 24/7. Detox from technology once a week, and feel your energy calm down. Imagine an hour of silence…how restful that would be?
  3. Trust the universe. You don’t have to believe in a higher power for this one. You just have to notice all the good around you. There is proof right in front of you that things do turn out how they are supposed to. Find inspiration and hope in the happiness that surrounds you everyday.

41 thoughts on “Do You Ever Slow Down?

  1. Great post Eric, and yes although at times it feels like life is ever speeding as we stretch ourselves ever further …. I know when to slow down now… Maybe in my younger years I didnt, as I would think I was invincible… And every thing had to be done on a certain day by a certain time as I followed my career path upon the ladder we all at times want to climb..

    I learnt perhaps the hard way, that no one is irreplaceable, and no one cares if you fall down while running at break-neck speed…..
    So slow down and take in the beauty of life… and enjoy each day……. And Trust in the flow of life ….

    Thank you for sharing.. Oh and congratulations upon your own Radio Show…. Well Done 🙂

    • “So slow down and take in the beauty of life…” Very nice, Sue. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful perspective. And I appreciate your kind wishes re: the Awakening to Awareness Show. 🙂

  2. “misalignment” nice way to put it. I spend countless hours watching the lizards and looking at the clouds. I used to do as a child and it is something that stuck with me. I told a friend today that if I slow down some more I’ll turn into a turtle, which may not be a bad thing after all. Great write!

    • I believe the state in which you are choosing to be, Hector, is one that many people would love to experience and enjoy! Bravo for creating the time to intentionally slow down! I’m your fan. 🙂

  3. Great reminders, Eric. John Lennon had the right idea ~> “no longer riding on the merry-go-round . . . I just had to let it go.”

    I know that my life is SO MUCH BETTER when I remember to stir life with a slow spoon.

  4. I used to “beat myself up” on days when I didn’t accomplish or “do anything”. Now, finally, I’m aware that growth comes from stillness as well as from action. And I have wonderful nothing (read: ecstatic) days.

    Talk to you on the radio,
    Dale

    • And many of us have to wonder, retrospectively, what purpose did it serve to frequently “beat ourselves up?” Isn’t stillness wonderful?! I hold it up there with silence and darkness though admittedly, these don’t work for everyone. Here’s to more of your ecstatic days, Dale! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I was just talking the other day with someone from a small town and we were discussing the differences in grocery shopping – in small towns the store is a social place where people take the time to chat whereas in the city everyone’s rushed and annoyed by others in the grocery stores. She was saying that she missed the connections she made in her small town. Loved your post. Good reminders!

    • As is often the case in technology and convenience driven societies, our connections with other people become less common and less deep as we immerse ourselves in technology-based connections. I hear and relate to what “she” was saying about and missed in her small town. This is likely one of the reasons why some choose rural over urban lives. Thank you for sharing your encounter and the message. It warmly resonates here.

  6. Love this. It has only been in the past 5 years, and more profoundly in the past 2, that I have reminded myself on a regular basis to be mindful. I think fewer accidents and stress-related illness would occur if everyone remembered to be mindful.

  7. Pingback: Slow Life… | R.B.Bailey Jr

  8. I’ve been guilty for this – the time that sticks out in my mind most was when I was at a ramen shop in Tokyo – I went in, ordered up, ate the food and rushed out the door then stopped dead in my tracks and asked myself “wait – where are you going? You don’t have anything planned after this for a good 2 hours. Just chill out.” I had to laugh because I didn’t really take the time to enjoy a good meal, but instead got caught up in the “rhythm” of the Metropolis I was in.

    Since that day I constantly remind myself to just enjoy life as it comes and not always get in such a rush. It’s an ineffective use of time.

  9. Tokyo – we share a place in common. Love your choice of the word “rhythm” to describe the reality of that situation/moment. How good that you’ve since chosen to appreciate and enjoy life as it comes. Bravo, Rego, and thank you for stopping by!

  10. Pingback: Stir Life With A Slow Spoon | Spirit Lights The Way

  11. Eric, you captured something important in this post. So many people are frantic to mold the universe to their own image rather than cultivating the art of going with the flow, moving graciously through life with the cards that are dealt to them.

  12. So many, indeed, Malcolm. Yet in my work, I am finding and encouraged by the palpable shift of more people choosing to be in/with flow or if unfamiliar with it, being open to exploring such alignment and course. Thank you for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

  13. Great post, as are the others I have read over the past few hours. I have been trying to slow down for years. In fact, we just moved from the “big city” to a smaller community and I feel the changes coming on and I like it!!! (Sounds like song lyrics, doesn’t it?) I love your phrase “chronologically gifted people” …. that would be me, never thought of it that way though. Your words hit home on a number of counts, right on! And I am honored that you have chosen to follow my blog. Thank you!!!

    • Mazi, please pardon my belated reply. I’m usually prompt with acknowledging thoughtful comments. I can almost “hear” how much you are liking the big city to smaller community transition. I made the same shift seven years ago and I’m still loving it. I’ve been referring to Baby Boomers and emerging seniors as chronologically gifted people for years. It often meets with reactions similar to yours. Thank you!

  14. Pingback: 3 small ways to slow down

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