Slowing Down

By Sitara Hewitt | 

Often in our pursuit for success and “best life”, we can get relentless in a way that actually defeats us a little bit.  We get burnt out, exhausted and we lose sight of why we started this grind in the first place.  We see and hear quotes about “never giving up” and “working tirelessly towards our goals.”     While that is motivating and in some cases true, like with anything we must be aware of maintaining a balance, so that we don’t get tired, overwhelmed or sick!   When this happens, listen.  It’s our bodies and spirits saying:  Time to recharge.   We get in the habit of going, doing, planning and booking up every free minute of our schedule.   We book up every free minute of our kids’ schedules in fear that they will get bored too.  We all have FOMO (fear of missing out) - and in some cases I know I have committed to plan upon plan because I fear loneliness as much as boredom.   But there is such a precious gift that lies in giving ourselves time to do nothing.  Time to exhale, relax and allow ourselves to unfold.

We are given but a finite number of years on earth.   And yes, this is motivation to travel, love, work, laugh, and live with abandon.  It’s also motivation to take a moment, and tap into what it really means to be YOU, here, now, experiencing your life on the planet.   Life is poignant.  Memories, dreams, hopes, wishes and just the simple experience of your current environment offers more mystique and delight than we often allow ourselves to see.  Practicing this present moment awareness also helps us to know how to do it when incredible, fleeting moments come like the birth of a child or a sunset with a loved one or a dream that comes true.

Sure, a movie or some time on the internet is quiet and relaxing for a little while, but it’s also valuable to come into the present moment, and let go of our devices for a while.  This way physically we recharge our adrenals, which get stressed out in the modern rush of our lives, and with all the coffee or stimulants we take just to stay alert - when our bodies are just crying out for some un-stimulating rest.   When we slow down we allow ourselves space to tap into our present awareness, our spirits, our essential selves.  Many spiritual teachers believe ALL the answers lie here; from this expanded, flowing place that we all have access to at any time.

How can you enjoy some quiet, recharge time and tap right in?  Start by breathing deeply and just sitting down in a quiet space.  Or have a bath with some essential oils.  Or lie on your bed for 20 minutes and breathe while you consciously relax your muscles - if you fall asleep your body really needed it and so enjoy the recharge. Meditate with some soothing music, allowing your thoughts to gently drift away for a while.  Lie in a chair outside and take in the glorious sky, or sit in nature and simply become one with it.    Walk without your phone and take in the breeze, birds and neighborhood.

Often all sorts of thoughts rush in at this point.  “I’m bored.”  “ I should check my instagram”.  “I forgot to get the groceries”.   Let these thoughts float away, knowing that you will pick them up again in a little while.  They aren’t going anywhere.   But our essential presence, if we are constantly distracting ourselves from it, is.

My son is 5 and he is at his funniest and most innocent right now.   Each day he changes a little bit and I am becoming keenly aware that he wont be a little kid for much longer.  And knowing that one day he will be a big strong man with his own life - spurns me to try and enjoy him as much as possible when he’s around me.  Sometimes, when we are together, I turn my phone off, I let go of the to do list in my head and simply enjoy his radiance.  I listen to his ideas and stories, play games he likes to play and just laugh with him.    Practicing this awareness helps me to enjoy him fully in the moment - until my heart feels it will burst with love and gratitude for this time with him.  So too, can you give yourself the same attention and love.  Spend time alone with yourself.  Allow yourself to repeat affirmations or things you’re ready to release as you breathe in and out.  Make your time alone a kind of meditation, where you reflect and breathe and take yourself and your life in.  This will increase your capacity for self love and self acceptance, as well as peace of mind, and will too recharge your body and mind.   Meditate in complete silence if you like, tapping into your wonderful and mysterious awareness, and into your soul.   It’s your time - do whatever you want with it - but above all else, give it to yourself.    You will come out of it feeling refreshed, grounded, grateful, alive.