The Art of Slowing Down

A couple of years ago I received one of those so-called inspirational emails that everyone loves to forward (and I tend to delete automatically if not accompanied with a note of sorts). As years go by and I change my attitude about certain things in life, or circumstances change them for me, I looked at the list again and decided to tweak it a bit.

  1. Slow down; You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now.
  2. Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past.  Rest there.  Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savour.
  3. Set your own pace.  When someone is pushing you, it’s OK to tell them they are pushing.
  4. Take nothing for granted: watch water flow, your child grow, the leaves blow.
  5. Taste your food.  Do not rush through the food on your plate. Take the the time to identify the flavours.
  6. Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set.  They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.
  7. Quit planning how you’re going to use what you know, learn or possess. Be grateful for what you have now and the purpose will be clear.
  8. When you talk with someone, don’t think about what you’ll say next.  Thoughts will spring up naturally if you let them.
  9. Talk and play with children, no matter how old you are or how old  your children are.  It will bring out the unhurried person within you.
  10. Create a place in your home … at your work … in your heart … where you can go for quiet and recollection. You need and deserve it.
  11. Allow yourself time to be lazy and unproductive.  Rest isn’t luxury; it’s a necessity.
  12. Listen to the wind.  It carries a message of yesterday, tomorrow and most impoartantly: now. NOW is what counts the most.
  13. Rest on your laurels.  You worked hard for them. They bring comfort whatever their size, age, or condition.
  14. Talk slower.  Talk less.  Don’t talk.  Communication isn’t measured by words.
  15. Indulge in being late sometimes.  Life is for living, not scheduling.
  16. Take time just to think.  Action is good and necessary, but it’s fruitful only if you muse, ponder and mull.
  17. Make time for play at the things you like to do.  Whatever your age, your inner child needs re-creation.
  18. Watch and listen to the night sky.  It speaks.
  19. When you find yourself rushing and anxious, stop.  Ask yourself “WHY?” you are rushing and anxious.  The reasons may improve your self-understanding.
  20. Direct your life with purposeful choices, not with speed and efficiency.  The best musician is one who plays with expression and meaning, not the one who finishes first.
  21. Take a day off alone; make a retreat.  You can learn from monks and hermits without becoming one.
  22. Work with your hands.  It frees the mind.
  23. Take time to wonder.  Without wonder, life is merely existence.
  24. Sit in the dark.  It will teach you to see and hear, taste and smell.
  25. Once in a while, turn down the lights, the volume, the throttle, the invitations.  Less really can be more.
  26. Let go.  Nothing is usually the hardest thing to do – but often it is the best.
  27.  Take a walk – but don’t go anywhere.  If you walk just to get somewhere, you sacrifice the walking.
  28. Count your friends.  If you have one, you are lucky.  If you have more, you are blessed.  Bless them in return.
  29. Count your blessings – one at a time and slowly.

-Author Unknown

I should probably start practicing what I preach, especially the slowing down part! I have learned that we reach an age where rushing has no place in my life anymore and I cannot keep up with it. Too much is lost along the way and in trying to keep up with the schedule, simply because society dictates “that is the way it should be”. No, my life is about holding my aged mother’s hand when she can not remember what she said five minutes ago, petting the cat after she knocked over a flower pot, turning my face to the rain, and listening to the frogs gossip at night.

Life is short, and there are so many wondrous things to do and share with others; while there is time.

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