When Going Slow is Not Natural
For decades I've tried to go faster and faster. And I’m noticing I’m exhausted.
So I'm curious what an intentional slowdown might look like and do for me. But slowing down isn’t natural for me. It’s not a habit I’ve practiced.
So how do I embrace this idea?
Well, it's taken me a few months, but I finally figured out my 2023 word for the year.
And I’ve decided that this word will be my compass as I move forward through life.
Slow feels soft and simple.
Slow will help me create new lightness in my life.
Beyond more afternoon naps, what do I want slowing down to actually look like for me?
~ Before I buy something, I will slow down my hand about to hit the buy now button, or put something else in the shopping cart, and ask, do I really want this?
~ Before I eat something, I will slow down my hand moving toward my mouth and ask am I being present with what I'm about to consume?
~ Before I watch something, I will slow down my hand making its way toward the TV remote and ask is this how I truly want to spend my life?
I truly want to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Yet, I notice I get distracted from this goal by going negative more often than I want to. Therefore, I'm going to be slowing down certain unhelpful thoughts as well.
What does this look like? Here are 3 ways in which I want to be more intentional:
- I'm slowing down on worry. My older son's soccer coach drives a bright blue Jeep. On the back is a bumper sticker that says "It's probably fine." Each time I read it I feel lightness emanate throughout my body. What a simple, yet powerful truth. And it gives me permission to let go of the insanity of worrying about things outside of my control.
- I'm slowing down my judgements. Decades ago, a friend of mine came to visit me, and had never touched snow in real life. We went downhill skiing and had a blast. However I noticed that my body filled with judgment each time we took pictures. He was so in awe and excited about the present moment, that each time our group would get together for a picture, he'd quickly lie down on the snow out front as the rest of us stood behind him. With each picture I felt the others judging him the way I was. Why couldn’t he stand normally like everyone else? Years later I realized that this judgement was not my own. I had internalized it from others. I was taught not to seek out attention. I realize now that there is nothing wrong with feeling joy and expressing it, even if it is to the distaste of others. He may or may not have been trying to seek attention, and I understand now that it doesn’t matter. His behavior was neutral, I interpreted it negatively, but I could have just as easily interpreted it in a positive, delightful way. There is no upside to going negative.
- I'm slowing down my use of low-vibrational comments. I've often slapped on an inauthentic “sorry I couldn’t be there” to a Facebook post of a picture of an event that I’d been invited to, but didn’t attend. Anytime we say sorry, we’re putting the onus on the other person to respond with an "It’s okay.” Why is it their job to lift me? I’m the one who chose not to attend. Had I really wanted to be there, I would have made it possible. So instead of saying sorry, try responding with an uplifting comment, like, "looked like a lot of fun!" Another use of a low-vibrational comment? In the past when I've seen my friends succeed, I've told them, "I'm so jealous in a good way!!" My intentions were pure, however my words were heavy. How do you feel when you hear the word jealous? Not good, right? So why use it at all? Instead, try “I'm thrilled for you!!" Feels much lighter right? Some examples of other low vibrational feelings beyond jealousy that will drag you down include: fear, anger, guilt and shame. On their own, they serve no good. However, if you use them as data, and then actively make changes in how you’re showing up, they can be life changing.
Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor is famous for saying "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
There is so much grace in that space.
And I believe that by using the word slow as my guide, I'll create space to cultivate responses that are truer to my heart.
What would the word slow do for you?