The lazy sunlight yawns through the partly opened curtains.
I pour the coffee grounds into the pot followed by the boiling water.
Three stirs to the left, then three to the right.
The motions of my mornings, slow and serene.
I hop from foot to foot as I wait for the coffee to brew.
I take delight in the effort of plunging, the delicious anticipation.
Gently I tip the coffee into my cup, inhaling to alertness.
It’s deep and bold and makes me feel ever-so-slightly dizzy.
I sit and sip and peruse the newspaper.
Finding rest in the gentle morning’s embrace.
My father is one of those people who just cannot sit still. No matter what, it always seems as though he is on a mission. He has an admirable dose of determination and a laser focus like no other.
I know for sure that it is him I inherited this particular trait from. It is him that I blame for my obsession with to-do lists and my antsy-pantsy need to get every, single task done.
We are like bees, buzzing so quickly from one job to another that if you blink you might just miss us.
But for every doer there is a thinker. A brake that causes us to decelerate. An anchor that keeps us moored to the shore.
They are the ones who urge us to stop for a lunch break. Who remind us that night time is for sleeping. Who will gently bring us back to rest when we are whirling around like spinning tops.
My boyfriend is one of those people.
He knows how to slow down and enjoy life. It comes naturally to him in a way it never has to me, so we often are at odds with one another.
We are forces pulling in opposite directions. We are a paradox. An unstoppable force meeting an immovable object…that’s us.
But I am learning how to slow down and enjoy life right now, in this very moment. I am learning how to sit still without thinking of my to-do list.
I am learning to find peace in those quiet moments and to practice patience in those painfully slow moments.
“Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday.” – Papyrus
I’m terrified that because of my nature, because it isn’t often that I’m not in a hurry, I could end up missing out on life.
I could get so caught up in getting tasks done that I actually wouldn’t take the time to enjoy the seconds and minutes that life is made up of.
The irony is that sometimes I try so hard to make a moment memorable that I actually miss out on the enjoyment of the moment which is the very thing that makes it memorable.
But how do we become hummingbirds? Able to hover and rest in the moment.
How do we actually slow down and enjoy life?
Create a done list
A list of the things you have achieved for each day or that week.
I often find that I can’t stop because I feel that slowing down means I am unproductive. And there is not much I dislike more than feeling lazy and unproductive.
So an easy way to get around that feeling is to prove to yourself that you have been productive. That’s where the ‘done’ list comes in. This means you can enjoy your time off because you know you have already worked hard and earned it.
Make time for it
Schedule that slow, restful time in your diary.
It might sound absurd to someone who is laid-back and doesn’t need to schedule time for rest. But for those of us who can’t sit still, having time set aside for relaxing can be the only way we will actually remember to do it.
Sit still or meditate
I’ve never been so great at meditation because my mind tends to wander and start working instead of resting.
I’m trying to get to the point where I absolutely clear my head and can rest there, but for now I find simply sitting still and absorbing the scene around me is all I need to escape for awhile. This brings my focus back to being present in that moment.
Again, this might sound excessive to some, but maybe try setting an alarm at random points throughout the day and for a minute just pause and take in what’s before you.
Notice the sights, smells and sounds. Be aware of how you are feeling at that moment and consider if there is anything you could do to make yourself feel better.
Do something just for fun
When you get stuck in cycle of constant productivity you don’t tend to leave a lot of time for goofing around. In fact, when other people try to get you to have fun it often ends in an irritated squabble.
One of the best skills to have is the ability to be adaptable. You can work on your flexibility by doing things just because they are fun.
Everything doesn’t need to have an ultimate purpose or a goal for you to achieve, some things (the best things) are simply just fun to do.
Be patient with yourself
Most of all you have to recognise that learning how to slow down and enjoy life isn’t always easy. As we move through life we will always be learning so we have to be kind to ourselves and extend grace where it is needed.
We might not always have as much patience as we wish we did. We might get frustrated by those who put on the brakes and slow us down. We might keep going and going until we burnout.
Eventually we will get to a place where slowing down comes naturally to us.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott
Do you struggle with feeling guilty for slowing down?