Rightio…here is goes…task number one on my list to awesomeness (see here if you missed that one)… SLOW DOWN
My life is always flying at such a frantic pace. There is always something happening or something that needs to get done. Productivity is my friend. My husband is the same, so we are a bad combo. We get twitchy when the weekend rolls around…instead of lying in bed, reading magazines and generally relaxing…you’ll find us up at 6am going to the gym or squeezing in a run. Then we start frantically working through our never ending list of things to do, dragging the children through a whirlwind of shopping, chores and sporting activities. By the end of the day we slump exhausted, maybe watch a family movie with the kids (quality time with children…tick), slightly proud of our lack of laziness (after all it is a sin!) but cursing ourselves that we didn’t end up doing more… because the list, after all, is never ending.
Last weekend my husband suggested we randomly go down to a park near the lake. Why? I was confused, this wasn’t on the list, what would it accomplish? “I dunno” was his reply. The kids complained (I think they were also confused about the change of plan) and whilst I was confused, I thought “why not”. So we jumped in the car, we wandered slightly aimlessly through the park and then the kids found a playground. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful day and for the first time in a long time, I was able to just stop. We lay on the path and watched the ducks, listened to a swan making (according to the children) an hilarious noise and spent time doing something that…well… wasn’t about ticking boxes. But internally I was struggling.
This is actually what my mind was doing….What are we going to do next? It is nearing lunch time, where are we planning to eat? This is lovely, but perhaps we should have brought the dog because he needs walking and when are we going to find time for that. Damn…just remembered I didn’t put the slow cook (ironic I know!) on this morning, now what are we going to have for dinner?
I acknowledge, that this is probably my biggest problem (hence why it is number one on my list).
Slowing down for me is about getting my brain to enjoy just being quiet sometimes, that being “productive” 100% of the time is actually not productive at all. I have successfully meditated in the past. Well..I learnt to enjoy rather than resent just sitting quietly for 10min…but the chatter in my brain never ceased. When I first tried it, I hated it. I literally sat there getting more and more annoyed about what a waste of time it was. But the more I did it, the more I learnt to appreciate it…
My very very favouritist (yep..totally a word) time of the day, is that moment when I switch off the light ready for sleep. I snuggle into my husband and my whole mind and body finally relaxes. My day is done, there is nothing more I can complete. And I feel blissful in that moment.
When I was practicing quietening my mind each day, some days I had that same blissful feeling at moments during the day. But it has been years since I have done any of that (it has fallen off that very long to do list!).
So this month is about bringing it back. I am committing to spending at least 10min per day slowing down. It doesn’t have to be an official “meditation”, it can be relaxing with a cup of tea (but not reading at the same time), it can be lying in the backyard and looking at the sky, it can be sitting in the car just breathing, waiting for the kids to finish school. I’ve tried a few times to do this, and failed after only a couple of days.
Am I capable of slowing down? Can I really find those moments? for more than just one day?
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