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I have decided to slow down. I have decided to take the steps to process everything I experience, feel, and claim to know, eat and live into. My beliefs are too quickly accepted and my speed for dismissing anything even faster. I’d like to share with you how my slowing down has helped me to improve my memory, appreciation for nature and for relationships.
As a minister and schoolteacher, I often entertain conversations with people complaining about too much information and too little time. Anxiety is the consequence of such a difficult bind. In my own pursuits to minimize stress, worry and unrealistic expectations about myself and others, I found the slow and authentic engagement with what I am doing here-and-now, to provide fulfilment and satisfaction in my life.
Did I experience a greater amount of anxiety when I intentionally took things slower? It would seem that I would’ve. Interestingly enough, I didn’t. I actually found my taking things slowly and being genuinely involved in anything I chose or needed to do, to fill my day and lessen my feelings of inadequacy or poor planning. Another effective strategy was to plan my day and work my plan in such a manner as to emphasize what I can do to resolve or make a difference and to focus on those goals. When something begins to seem to be more than I can handle, I remind myself that I have been responsible to address what I can do, rather than what others what me to or what my unrealistic expectations challenge me to do.
One additional matter that is required for slowing down is to make honest assessments about myself. Too often I rush and make my day cumbersome because I confuse what I need to do with my value as a person. In other words, I may say to myself, “I can do this because I’m smart,” I am actually making a mistake. My ability to accomplish a particular task doesn’t have anything to do with my brilliance or value as a person. Many circumstances can influence my ability to do something or to complete a task on time. So, if traffic or someone else’s role in completing a task has been instrumental in delaying the achievement of a particular goal, than it doesn’t have anything to do with me.
I can choose to see things as judgment on my person or simply as things that need to get done. As long as I don’t procrastinate or refuse to ask for help or resources, then I do all I can and I take time in doing the best I can. Why do I make a point about personal assessment of self? The path of enlightenment must not only come through practicing the presence of self in all we do, but in valuing the participation of one’s self in the practice. Otherwise there is dissonance.
I recommend to start “slowing down”, by taking small tasks under this new method of doing life. Practice being present in the moment, enjoy the task and think of the health that affords you the ability to do it, the mind you have that affords the processing and resolution of it and the life you have that makes it possible to address it in the first place. From there you can tackle larger and more complex goals. When the challenges of life such as death or illness have come my way, the slow movement approach has been essential to my mental health, bereavement, health plan of care and self-care, too.
Taking life slowly doesn’t make it easier. It makes it meaningful and makes each moment count. I believe it has done me a great deal of good. In light of the fast food, instantaneous gratification society we all live in, it is refreshing and powerful to not expect things before their time and to enjoy each moment along the way.