jusummerhayes

Slowing down

South Brent at the bottom of Owley Beacon
South Brent at the bottom of Owley Beacon
Wisdom is not something we have to strive to acquire. Rather, it arises naturally as we slow down and notice what is already there. — Haemin Sunim

Everything is telling me to slow down.

It's my age.

Then again, I think there's a natural cadence to life and we rarely allow ourselves to let go and fall unconditionally into the moment. 

Instead, we're too busy trying to do.

Why?

Mostly we're seeking:

A better version of ourselves;

A more complete version of ourselves; or

Someone who's bagged a bushel of trophies.

But I don't know this and, as per normal, I'm making a series of sweeping generalisations. Shame on me.

Speaking personally though, I'll admit that 'slow' wasn't previously in my lexicon. It's a complicated story but there was (always) an overwhelming sense of lack and I felt that by doing, being on call to my inner monologue and trying to outwit the competition (as chortle worthy as it sounds), I'd grow into the person I was supposed to be.

It worked in part but, aged 43, I fell off the existential cliff and it's taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that: a) I'm mortal; and b) there's more to life than work — my drug of choice for so many years.

But you know all this.

What then does slowness offer us/me?

That's a good question. In fact, I'm acutely aware, given my predilection for goal-setting and the like, that it could become another faux ladder to climb. Then again, when I fully let go and be with the moment and all that it offers, I realise that there's nowhere to go, nothing to do and to breathe isn't just a necessity to maintain (my) life, it's everything I'll ever need. 

On this latter point, for the past few weeks, I've had a problem sleeping through the night — that's an understatement. If there's one thing I've found beneficial it's to focus exclusively on my breathing and to count my breaths. It's not a foolproof way to get back to sleep but it centres me and reminds me that I'm a living, breathing, sentient being and not some bloody machine.

Why though should slowing down have to be something I seek? It should be my natural resting place for all things. It's not I lack anything. Perhaps I need to have a daily reminder or mantra but then again, I'm of the view that we go where we go, do what we do and that we're not really in charge of anything. If that means that slowing down is, for now, an ON/OFF affair, then so be it. Who am I to argue with the Universe?

What about you?

Do you think we're all doing too much and need to retrain ourselves to follow the natural rhythm of our bodies?

Blessings, Ju


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