Slow down to keep up.
You have to slow down to keep up. That's what mother nature is showing us right now. The long, dark, cold winter nights require a change of pace. They call us towards patience, nourishment and rest.
But I don't have time to slow down! I've a million things to get done! Sound familiar?
And so we resist and get busier than ever. Distracted by the twinkly Christmas lights, booze and shopping. Yet all the signs of our body's yearning for something different are there. A nagging fatigue, irritability, apathy, injury, illness. Our bodies and minds are weary with the weight of the year gone by.
We may think we thrive on the pressure of cramming in all the things, or that jamming as much as we can into our days is the path to a happy fulfilled life, but at what toll physically, mentally and emotionally?
Recently my daughter observed " everyone's always in a rush to get absolutely nowhere."
When we rush we are in a state of resistance. Have you ever noticed it usually implies a feeling of lack? I need to do more/buy more/have more/be more. Rushing can bring a certain harshness into our interactions. We're curt with those around us. Our nearest and dearest don't get our full undivided attention, devaluing their importance to us. We become so exhausted by all of our rushing that we're irritable instead of kind, thoughtless instead of considerate.
In yogic philosophy, Asteya is the practice of non-stealing. When we rush, we are robbing ourselves of the gift of time that slowing down affords us. We're robbing our friends and family of the precious gift of our presence. We often joke in yoga class about the frantic rush involved just to get there - even when we don't have to leave the house! Yet by doing so we are forgetting to put Asteya into practice. We arrive late or by the skin of our teeth and flustered and we've stolen precious practice time from ourselves and the others in the class.
On the mat we can also find ourselves rushing. It might show up as impatience lying down (hurry up and relax anyone??) skipping relaxation or meditation, always seeking out fast paced energetic classes, agitation during long holds or even speeding up the breath to make the flows faster.
Slowing down in a fast paced society can feel like going against the grain. Uncomfortable, intimidating, and lonely. Removing the mask of rushing can leave us feeling exposed and vulnerable. But in doing so we begin to realise just how much slowing down is a power move.
We get closer to authenticity and we open ourselves up to a deeper more fulfilling connection with ourselves and the world around us.
We realise that rushing is a habitual mindset and it's only outside forces that keep us doing it.
We learn that slowing down is essential for healing and that slowing down our breath soothes our overstimulated nervous systems.
We discover that moving slowly builds more strength.
We find when we slow down we act with intention, integrity and certainty.
We learn how to be present and focus.
We reveal a mental clarity we did not realise existed.
We discover being present is transformative.
We experience the small but important details in life we would otherwise miss.
We become less concerned with the destination and take delight in the beauty of the whole journey.
So when you claim that you don't have time to slow down, I challenge you that you've been fooled! Time is an illusion and rushing is inefficient.
Slowing down GIVES you time.
Slow down and breathe. Aim for clarity over urgency. It's transformative. It's a power move!