Slow is the Way of the Wise

Try these four steps for a more spacious, joyful day

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Beautiful barn owl bird  in natural habitat sitting on old wooden roof.
Beautiful barn owl bird in natural habitat sitting on old wooden roof.

The rhythm of our lives has surpassed our capacity to function. Our days are overflowing with alerts, beeps, buzzers, bells, knock knocks, ring tones, robotic voices, and reminders. The endless tug of “to-do” gnaws away at our already limited time, demanding energy from our perpetually empty fuel tank. Can you feel your body contracting just at the mention of the never-ending daily demands? 

This is the ideal time to challenge the lunacy of our culture that values overworking as a badge of honor. A culture that expects us to sacrifice relationships, sleep, wellbeing, pleasure, play, and so much more. Yet we don’t dare slow down. If we do, how will we keep up? What will people think if I’m not too busy, crazed, or stretched too thin? 

Now, let’s reframe and reimagine. What if…you felt deserving and good enough, just as you are. What if you felt completely safe and held? What if there was less pressure? Envision the graceful cycles of the tides, the sun, and the moon. What if the rhythm of your days, weeks, and months was as easeful and intentional as the changing of the seasons. Even our cells and metabolism function according to a natural cycle.

Yes, it may be hard to imagine how you can shift away from the intensity and swirl. But if you have a deep knowing that you want to live and work differently, here are four steps to open up a more spacious, expansive day.

  1. Set your intention

Get clear about what you want your life to look like. How might an ideal day unfold? Do you include time for your practices – meditation, running, yoga, breathing, being in nature, music, dancing – to center, ground, energize, relax, and restore you? Time for community, friends, family? Now, imagine how you desire to be.  Map out only what brings you joy and write it down.

2. Be present

As one of my wisest mentors says, get your attention in present time and the future will take care of itself. We lose so much of our vital life force stuck in the past or anxious about the unknown ahead of us. Simply take a pause and observe. As you pay attention without judgement to exactly what is, you may notice you can be present to a whole new way of being. 

3. Align the values of your innermost self with your external activities and relationships

Your deepest yearnings to grow, contribute, support positive change, and make an impact may be blocked by your current job, or tending to the needs of others. Prioritize the life choices that bring all the parts of yourself into alignment. It will be good to feel the river of life flowing in and with you, instead of the constant challenge of swimming upstream.

4. Get curious

Put on the colored lenses that allow you to see the world with awe and wonder, like you’re seeing things for the first time. Humble, open, without any preconceived beliefs or answers. What can you celebrate? How might you play? Curiosity can open the floodgates to your creativity, passion, and reorient your compass toward your true north. 

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We no longer need to be judged or valued by the enormity of our sacrifice and output. We are human beings with needs, feelings, and desires. We need to breathe. We yearn to be well, whole, and connected. We yearn to love and laugh with abandon. We yearn to be free. 

Make a choice to examine your life with courage and compassion. The four steps to opening a more expansive day will reorient you to the life you truly desire. It is the life that only you can live.

Place your own wellbeing at the top of your priority list. Especially if you are caring for others or caring for the world, you are most likely not to be as caring to yourself. Slow down and shower yourself with the kindness and attention you offer out to the world. Know that this is not the least bit selfish. Your life, and the lives of everyone you know and everyone you don’t know, depends on it.  

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