“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” ~ Eddie Cantor
Much of our lives are series; cycles of events. Just as days turn into nights, seasons change over time, and tides roll in and out – our lives shift from phases of peak activity to periods of rest and relaxation. Whereas high tide is no better than low tide, and autumn no better than winter, activity is not, in itself, better than inactivity. Yet it is during those times of rest and daydreaming that we reconnect to ourselves.
Western cultures typically applaud action and achievement. I know mine does. We are often most comfortable with ourselves when we are on target toward defined goals. When we are working in pursuit of those goals, we are usually taking action on our vision(s). Yet there are times during our efforts when we feel the need to take a break, back off, or just put things into neutral for a while. These are actually good times to gauge intention and progress. By being aware of your intention behind the action of lying low you can gain a clearer perspective on it.
When you sense a need for down time, trust that this is a natural part of the process of achieving your goals. Acknowledge that what might appear to be steering you “off course” could actually be giving you permission to redirect or change a focus. Don’t unnecessarily judge yourself. Do whatever you feel will nurture your mind and your body so that when you choose to resume activity, you can proceed with clarity and renewed intention.
Here are three (of many) ways to enable conscious idling:
- Control what you can. Change what you can and don’t worry about the rest. You cannot change traffic but you can change how you react to it. If you have an extra 20 minutes in the car; see and use it as down time.
- Shut off your mobile device. Endless interconnectedness causes stress. Leave your laptop at the office when you can (yes, it’s doable). Find ways to create boundaries between work and life (and yes, they are two different domains).
- Rethink your “list.” Sometimes all it takes to retain peace of mind is to drop just one thing. Ask yourself: “What item here least reflects what matters most to me?”
Pause. Relax. Reflect. Restore.
These photos were added post-publishing as a reader queried if the first shot was photo-shopped….