“Slow down to speed up”
Have you ever heard this phrase before? This has become incredibly relevant to me recently.
I was unwell over the winter, sometimes resigned to bed rest, certainly it seemed my energy up and left and went on holiday somewhere more appealing. It was a frustrating, stormy and also reflectful time as I was forced to slow down.
Each time I tried to get back to my previous pace of life I was knocked back down and found myself exhausted from an overwhelming fatigue at the end of my daughter’s recent birthday celebrations.
Whilst I have returned to an increased pace of life now I have not returned to that hectic pace. As I began to heal during this time I concluded that I definitely need to slow down, that I was definitely too busy “doing” and not spending enough time just “being” and this had to change.
I know there are many reasons why we may fall into this pattern and I wonder as you read this whether it is resonating with you at all?
The striving and business of our lives serves a purpose, for me I think at a subconscious level it was trying to prove I was “good enough” but there was also an element of keeping my mind and body busy so I didn’t have to “feel” the uncomfortable emotions that emerge when I am still. Remnants of feelings have arisen from many challenges I experienced during the pandemic.
The forced rest of illness has meant these emotions have erupted at times as if life depends on them “getting out” and being felt.
As a result, I feel I have taken a courageous step forward in embodying the phrase “slow down to speed up”, A phrase that I use in my coaching and Is now something I practice as well as preach.
I am now operating at a less hectic pace, it has required some considerable effort to do this, I often stop myself when I realise I am moving away from my intention and I pivot. I am trying to walk not run, I am saying no to those who want me to do “just one more thing” and I am declining to listen to my own thoughts telling me I “should” be doing more.
I have recently started to play the piano again and it is sat there calling me yet my mind always tells me there are more important jobs to be done, I am getting better at choosing a different way, I’m determined to prioritise these calls to slow down and explore more creative pursuits that bring me joy.
As I slow down sometimes uncomfortable feelings arise but I am trying to welcome them, pay attention to them and ask them what they are there to tell me? In this way I have noticed that slowing down actually has had me ‘speeding up’ the healing process for my body and mind. I feel like I have more clarity and am more able to hear my intuition which leads to better decision making and less time spent procrastinating. There has been a very positive effect on my nervous system from spending more time in stillness and in being creative, this has also meant I have had more access to patience and compassion for others.
I have realised that by resting more I am modelling to my children that rest is ok, in fact, rest is powerful.
This society can feel relentless, full of pressure to do more! Better! Faster! As I mentioned about my revelation about being ‘good enough’, busy life is seen by many as the ultimate affirmation of worth.
Our children aren’t immune from this pressure, with extracurricular activities, playdates, extra tutoring, screen time and family visits filling the ‘free’ time around school. Where are the moments of rest for our children? When do they get “pressure valve” moments to release the tension from school and process the events? drop the shoulders, notice their environment, breathe deeply…?
If we don’t slow down perhaps the universe will intervene and force rest in a much harder way as it did for me.
For our children this hectic pace may cause an overwhelm that manifests itself in some extreme behaviours just to say something quite simple… “I need a break”.
I feel strongly that we should be radical about prioritising rest, let’s give ourselves the gift of “pressure valve” moments every day and give others permission to do the same. A “pressure valve” moment can be so helpful even if it is just a 5 minute pause with your eyes closed or doing some breath work.
If you feel called to make a shift in your pace of life maybe you could begin by asking yourself, how can I find a 5 minute “pressure valve” moment?