Life in the slow lane

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been a little MIA for a while now. Some of you may not, in which case – shame on you!

I’ve been working my way through an unidentified virus for longer than I would have liked and we will be celebrating our 2 month anniversary later this week.

As well as being a challenging time physically, it has in some ways been more emotionally and mentally taxing. However, I have always been and continue to be a firm believer in the everything happens for a reason moto and so I have learnt to take each day as it comes and appreciate the lessons and ‘aha’ moments they bring.

While this all sounds very spiritual guru of me – don’t fret, I can assure you there have been plenty of tantrums, “Why me?!” and tears along the way! My undyingly supportive mother can certainly vouch for that! But all in all as I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I feel called to share one of the biggest lessons I have learnt so far.

Life in the slow lane

Whether it was due to being raised in a family of high achievers, with both my parents and older brother pursuing lives of incredible success. Or simply the fast paced and busy society that we’re surrounded by (which as far as I can see, shows little sign of slowing down), I have innate drive in me to be on the go 24/7.
I’m talking to-do lists a plenty, juggling 4 jobs, working 7 days a week, I wore “I’m busy being productive” as a badge of honour! “Queen multi-tasker” tattooed across my forehead was also something I’d been considering…

So you get the picture, I was busy building a life of productivity.

Now I’m not going to lie and say that this was my first and only wake up call to slow down, I’ve had my fair share leading up to this point and I’m guessing on my built in ‘go getter’ there may be more to come. I think the fact that I’m taking my time for bed rest to write a blog post will tell you that. But, this is my journey and something I have to walk through along the way. My hope is that I can share some of my insights and perhaps give you a sense of clarity around whatever it is you are working through.

So, I guess my greatest lesson to date is learning the art of being in the present moment. It sounds simple enough but I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles to truly be in present time. If I was working out, I’d be watching a doco or catching up on MasterChef. Cooking was almost a game of juggling boiling pots,
oven roasting and food processing (you can blame MasterChef for that – “15 minutes to go!!”). Even taking time to meditatively colour-in, was an opportunity to listen to a podcast.
Put your hand up if you’re guilty or watching a film while on Facebook? Eating lunch while catching up on emails?
Scrolling through Instagram while spending time with friends? Driving from A to B with no memory of how you got there?

When did we become such an overstimulated society? That simply doing one thing at a time, leads us to feel either bored or unproductive?

You may have heard of studies now showing that the more we multi-task, the less efficient we actually are.
Which sure, is a step in the right direction but it’s so much more than that.

When did life become a race to the finish line? What’s the hurry?

So many of us are counting the hours ‘til clock off, the days until the weekend, or until that next holiday.
How many times have you heard “Yeah it’s been really busy, which is great – it makes the day go fast” Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself?

What are we missing out on in all this hustle and bustle along the way? I’ll tell you.

The feeling of the winter sun as it hits your skin in the morning. The smile on a strangers face when you say hello.
The conversations with loved ones as you share a meal together. The joy in a child’s face as they play.
The scent of your lover. The beauty of a mother nature. The warmth of a hug.
Big or small, cheesy or not, these are moments I want to remember when I look back at my time here – not how many tasks I could check off my to-do list in any one day.

When I think of some of my fondest memories, they’re all about how I felt in each moment. How much my belly hurt from laughing so hard I cried after falling down 2 flights of stairs in front of my entire year 8 class. The feeling of immense anticipation as the plane hits the tarmac. The overwhelming joy, when hugging my brother for the first time in over 4 years.

Now I get it, these days’ time is a luxury, we all want to spend it wisely and get the most out of each day. But maybe it’s time to re think our priorities,
surely taking the time to truly engage with your partner or enjoy a hot bath at the end of a long day,
is more important than the latest cat singing video on YouTube? Don’t deny you haven’t seen it!

If you’re like me, you may have read an article like this one somewhere before or have heard quotes like “Don’t get so busy making a living, you forget to make a life”.
It’s one thing to have the knowledge but if you don’t act on it, it’s useless.

So how do you begin living more in the present moment?
It takes practise, but like with any muscle, it gets stronger the more you use it.

Here’s my advice: Take yourself outside into nature, preferably in a garden, plonk yourself down and watch. Just watch. At first you may not notice anything, your mind might be racing with thoughts on the day ahead – hang in there. It might be a butterfly the catches your eye, watch as it flutters from flower to flower. Maybe it’s the way the leaves move as the wind passes through them. Nature is incredible, bask in it. If there’s no garden in sight, lie back and watch the clouds, see how they drift across the sky, forming different shapes as they pass. If you can do this while tying your hair into a man-bun or loudly chanting “Ommm”, you may find an even deeper connection…

As little as 5 minutes is all you need, however I find the more often you can do it, the easier it becomes to integrate into your everyday life.
You’ll soon start to notice the magic and joy in the simplest of moments.

Surely it’s high time we take the sense of importance and achievement that often comes with being ‘busy’, away.
Let’s shift our focus to: deeper conversations, shorter to-do lists, messier unmade beds and all-round, juicer lives!


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