“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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.