Slowing Down to Speed Up

Last night, my son cuddled on my lap at a yoga workshop. My daughter climbed onto a chair with me so we could talk and snuggle. My eldest son sidled next to me in bed late at night when his allergies made it hard to sleep.

When we’re on the hamster-wheel of modern life, we rarely notice these moments or even allow them to happen. 

I’ve been trying to slow down so I can savor the moments and be here right now. That’s all it takes – being in the moment, not looking ahead nor ruminating on what is behind. Just this, just now, just the refrain of a favorite song or the way the morning creeps in quietly and gray and without movement but with so much sound.

Even when my bedroom windows are closed, I can hear the birds in their song even before the sunrise. It had been weeks since my little one meandered into my room in mid-sleep darkness but today it happened. I threw back the blankets and welcomed in his little warm body and though he drifted off almost immediately into assured sleep, I did not.

I love laying awake and noticing all the wonderful details of my life. My children peacefully sleeping. The birds outside the window – oh, their glorious song! The warmth of the blankets on my bed. That I have time still to lay there and rest before jumping into my day.

And when I do rise, I start by meditating. I sit under a blanket and face east out the big door wall to the backyard, and close my eyes to recite my mantra silently in my head. I check out for that precious time of meditation, clearing out the cobwebs in my brain to start the day on the right note.

While I’m not religious, I am taking the next two days (a Jewish holiday, Shavuot, the celebration of the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai and also the spring harvest holiday) to stop and savor the moments with my kids. 

Tonight, we’re staying up late to learn together.

Tomorrow, we’re walking through nature and picnicking. Counting the blessings around us and between us. Slowing down so that when we jump back into our lives, we do so with grace and aplomb.

I wish our society promoted the type of work-life balance you find in Europe – start a job fresh out of college, and you’re given six weeks of paid vacation. In some countries, it’s customary to go home for a large lunch and take a nap before resuming work.

Who do you think is more productive? Who do you think has better quality of life? Who do you think is more energetic?

All I’m saying is, when you consciously slow down and start to notice, you can’t help but be better for it in the long-run. 

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