A week ago I found myself on a small island with limited cell service, an outdoor shower and an ocean view minutes away in each direction. For many people, this sounds magical. I had them at “no cell service” and each additional detail brings about an even deeper sense of peace. And even though the environment itself was conducive to peace, there was another component that was much more subtle: The tempo of the island was slow, thoughtful and intentional. This can be an abrupt contrast to any city life. It is nearly maddening at first to be operating at such a high “speed” and to be surrounded by people, places and nature that are slow and deliberate. However, once you allow the nervous system to settle into this tempo, well…that’s when the real magic begins.
We end up stuck operating at a higher-than-necessary tempo for many reasons. Typically, we get asked to up-level our capacity due to fleeting life circumstances; we have a busy week ahead, our partner is travelling for work so now we are responsible for all things related to home life, we have family to care for or a busy work project. Let’s also not forget that there is external pressure from society to work harder and produce more. We value overwork. We devalue rest. The ability to function at this level serves us and it often initially gifts us with praise and progress. Once our spell of busy-ness is complete, some folks can relax back to their own original rhythm. However, it is very easy to get stuck there; doing more and more while being less and less. We begin to believe that if we stop to rest, we will stop entirely and succumb to our body’s cries to slow down. And then what would happen? We cannot risk the thought. I couldn’t risk the thought.
Fortunately after spending many days in seclusion while learning a deeply energetic and profound modality, my rhythm slowed. In my silence, I had the capacity to observe the contrast between my usual tendencies and my new-found slowness. The space in between them was sobering. My tendency to overwork propelled me through school and beyond. It served me very well and now here it was, at the shoreline, asking me to please just stop and rest. I obliged.
As we approach the yang season of summer, it can be quite challenging to slow down. There are lots of plans, vacations and social obligations. It is only natural that our energy will match that of nature as she blooms and lengthens the sun. However, if you would like to join me, I am committed to carving out time for rest. To slow down this summer, I will be doing the following:
- Taking more time off and going on my first vacation in years.
- Taking a social media hiatus to mitigate the constant pressure to create content.
- Spending entire days reading great books (I have a pretty amazing line up!)
- Being present with food from selecting ingredients to preparing to cooking to eating.
- Focusing more on restorative and yin yoga.
- Carving out more time in my day to slow down my breathing pattern and connect to my body.
Your turn…what will you do to slow down this summer?