I don’t know about you but I have grown up believing first is best, rush through and finish first to be the winner, if you can do more than one thing at a time – you are a real achiever, so productive; a super woman, the busier you are the better you are. ‘Always give a job to a busy person, they will get it done.’ If you are going to exercise it needs to be a real work out – you need to get a sweat happening. If you stop or go slowly you are being lazy, or you miss out, get left behind you lose. That inner critic in me, always pushing, never stopping – wanting more, more, more…..
As a society, we have always recognised the speedy, rewarded the fast, admired the multi taskers – but suddenly I am not sure we have it right. I do not want to respond to people that I am busy. I am tired of rushing.
I notice that when I rush I make mistakes, sometimes major mistakes. I am aware that there is always more to be done and my to do list never ends. I have come to understand that by multi-tasking I am not really present to what I am doing. In fact, multi-tasking has been a major factor in me forgetting many things, I often forget what I am doing now. That rushing through life means being in a constant state of stress for my body and mind – the flight or fight continually charged, has led to illness and an inability to actually stop and relax.
A few years ago, I discovered yin yoga. My first class was agony, holding each pose for up to 5 minutes, I remember thinking I was going to die, in sleeping swan tears fighting back the tears, that it was the longest class in history. I wanted to leave the class (but I did not want to look like I was failing, that I could not handle it.) I really had to focus on my breathing to get through the class, but I did it and I noticed that it became easier. My mind had been so quick to want to quit, to avoid the silence and stillness. But when in shavasna I really stopped and allowed myself to relax, I lay there and felt my body melt into the mat, I was aware of the tension releasing through my body and this sense of calmness in my mind. It felt like I was coming home, I did not have to try or do anything – my body knew exactly what it needed. That is the beauty of yin yoga, you do not need to force, or control the movements – just rest in the pose and allow your body to unwind – to take what you need from each pose. Pausing to notice what is actually happening in our bodies. Tuning into the subtle sensations, the blood pulsing through our body, the ache along one side of the body that starts to release when we sit in the stillness.
‘The quieter you become the more you can hear’ “Ram Dass’
When we are rushing through life, too busy to stop, we are not picking up on our internal signals and messages. As a society, we have become so busy, many of us have lost connection to our gut, our minds are ruling our decision making which can lower our self-awareness. Inner city living is very yang based, just driving in traffic to work can get our adrenalin flowing and raise stress levels.
For me it is all about the slow now. I know that I need that quiet time, my space, my time. Life in Sydney is busy, I have to consciously carve out my down time. Learning to say no, prioritising my needs, listening to the signals – when we are tired or have a headache – stop, lie down, have a sleep – it is not a sign that you are failing, or not good enough – listen to these special messages and take care of your health. Remember our health is our wealth.
I have a little collection of tools that help me to slow down, to hit pause within my day. A morning meditation to clear my mind, enjoying a cup of tea in the sunshine, a walk in nature, a dip in the ocean, journaling, conscious breathing, slow cooking, yin or restorative yoga, reading my book. These are the things that help me recharge, that help me to reset and restore the balance. I am learning to love this quieter side of me, to choose activities and people that energise me and minimise the energy zappers. The trick is catching myself when I start to rush, when I notice my breathing has become shallow, when I start to get ‘busy and controlling’ and to stop and slow down.
‘Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for. ‘
Just think of the tortoise….. slow and steady wins the race….