As the temperatures heat up, it’s time to slow down to cool down. With school almost out for several weeks, hotels and planes might be booked for vacations, and snowbirds that have returned home, the invitation is to step back, take a breath, and slow down.
Mindfulness has been a buzz word for a while. Some practice it with intention and find that it makes a difference in their lives. Others decide they don’t have time for it and so their lives continue in the same fashion, whether that’s helter-skelter or with moments of ease.
What does slowing down, perhaps a step toward mindfulness, look like? It could be space in your calendar where there used to be crammed tasks and places to go. It could be a few hours in the afternoon to sit in a quiet place and read a book you’ve been meaning to get to, or your favorite magazine that’s a few months old. It could be taking a restorative or yin yoga class instead of vinyasa. It could be visiting the farmers market and then unhurriedly cooking a meal with fresh ingredients.
If you choose to slow down, there are myriad observations you might make: you notice the gaps between your thoughts, and the peace that offers; you give your body and mind an opportunity to rest, to recoup from previous stressors; you’re reminded of a favorite pastime, and vow to not let it fall away again; your creativity will spike with the space that opens when you’re not multitasking; your diet will improve when you sit to eat a healthy meal instead of convenience food on the run; you’ll experience better sleep with your mind relaxed by doing one task at a time, being fed real food, and engaging in joyful activities.
It’s difficult to pay attention to the landscape within us, and the one outside of us, when we’re moving fast. A simple meaning of mindfulness is to pay attention, and one way to begin is to slow down.