We live in a world that pays no respect to the power that is found in slow. Our world is based off the urban buzz of a city that never sleeps, people who have no desire to rest, and the reward we receive for working our knuckles to the bone to the summit of one task, only to find ourselves stood at the foot of another. We are endlessly chaotic, bordering on neurotic, and we struggle to truly cling onto our inner peace. It’s precisely this reason why there has been a soaring popularity in Mindfulness and Yoga – anything to help us calm down, even if only for ten minutes.
If you’ve been here for a moment, you know that I’ve briefly touched on the power of mindfulness before and living moment by moment. It’s something that I still aim to do daily and, when I feel the overwhelm creeping into my mind, I’ve become better at pulling myself back under the shelter from the mental rainstorm that threatens to soak me. But, lately, I’ve become more aware of the power that resides in pausing; in living life a little slower.
Living quickly is fun, exhilirating, and we rarely ‘miss out’ on things as we say yes to everything. It’s like a lust for life – intoxicating, exciting, and unleashes the best part of us. It’s like a Firework display. It glitters like gold, it’s loud, it’s enticing, it’s colourful and bold. They explode with a ferocious energy…
But, the thing with Fireworks is that they quickly burn out. Once the bang is gone – it’s gone. It’s difficult to take it in. It’s hard to keep up that level of energy and, if a Firework was to last that long, it wouldn’t be exciting. In fact, it would be terrifying. Burning out, however, is almost praised in our society. When did getting sick with stress, anxiety, restlessness, and nervous energy become so coveted?
Living life slowly. That’s the opposite. That’s like a Fire. When controlled, it becomes absolutely magical. Have you ever been near a fireplace on a cold evening? Or been camping with others and gathered around the bonfire? i bet you remember those times. I know I do. You see, when the Fire is contained and fed gently over time, it can burn for hours. It provides warmth, comfort, and creates intimacy amongst others. It’s not wild; of course, the power is there, it’s just spread evenly over the course of however long it needs to burn. Even as it dies out, the embers still glow and can be re-ignited when ready.
When we live life quickly, we don’t give ourselves the chance to listen to ourselves and find out what we need in each moment. We ignore our soul’s cry for rest as we get swept up in the excitement and allow ourselves to be seduced by situations that keep us busy. When we live life slowly, we deliberately create boundaries that preserve our energy. Living life slowly gives us time to think about things before we act, to consider situations, and to tap into our hearts and explore what we really want to do and how we would like to live each day. The magic of living like this is that, once we get into a slower rhythm, we start to notice how this impacts our behaviour in other places.
Having those moments to consider before we commit allow us to start thinking before we speak; we start to control our behaviour a little more as we’re not feeling the stress from the whirling dirvish that our lives used to be. The reduction in stress means that we start treating others a little more gently; when someone pisses us off, that small pause before reacting can allow us to gather our shit together and respond with love. As we start to create boundaries for ourselves, preserving our previous energy, we start to trust ourselves more – we start to realise that we know what’s best for us, our self-esteem increases, and we start to realise that our time is precious and is not supposed to be given out to just anyone and anything. That’s right – some people have to earn that shit because not everyone is worthy of it.
I’m not saying that one way or another is better – I’m trying to emphasise balance, here. There will be times in life where we will be lustful for every experience and we will say yes to all – but, allowing for this also means allowing yourself the times when you need to slow down.
Life is full of different seasons – some for slow, and some for fast. But, from now on, don’t let others influence you.
Live life slowly.
Soak in each moment.
Allow yourself to think.
Listen to your heart.
This is your life; make it one that you love.