Eddie Cantor said, “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast. You also miss the sense of where you are going and why. ” I am usually mindful of his advice, but life can become a runaway horse. Even when the source of busyness is something I enjoy, I sometimes I have to take life by the reins and call, “Whoah!”
My life has evolved into a yummy box of chocolates, chocked full of ideas and opportunities, both creative and social, that I want to make the most of. When I go too fast for too long, I don’t feel like myself and I’m forced to halt for a few days. My productivity grinds to a halt and I am visited by a sense of frustration. There is always a blessing in this forced hiatus, however. If I’m patient and slow my mind, I will recognize it.
Carl Honore’s TED Talk about the benefits of living slowly reminded me of what I already knew. Some things in life are best enjoyed at a slower speed so we can savour them.
Slowing down is not a bad thing. It doesn’t have to mean advancing at a snail’s pace, giving up on working or striving. It can mean being present and living in the moment instead of living in your head and mentally galloping ahead to the next item on the to-do list.
For me, slowing down now means taking regular breaks during lengthy project. I might do fifteen minutes of yoga, a brief meditation, or read a few pages of a book for pleasure. A walk or a bike ride to the grocery store becomes a restorative time-out. I have to do it, so why not enjoy it? When I’m not in the car, I can hear birds sing or have a chance encounter with a friend or neighbour. I try to think of preparing a meal as a creative endeavour, a combining of colours, textures and flavours. Working in the garden or having a coffee with a friend nurtures my spirit and leaves me creatively recharged. For me, deep conversation is a must.
The net result of savouring the moments is that instead of accomplishing less, I actually become more productive and creative. I still remember my visit to the Netherlands, where quality of life and social time is paramount. When the sun shines, people come out in droves to the parks and canals. Friends might share bread, cheese and a bottle of wine as they cruise the canals or gather to play board games on a blanket spread on the grass of a public parks.
I’ll take a page from their book any day!
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
How do you slow down?
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