What I’ve Learned by Slowing Down

It would be a bit of an understatement to say these past five months (which seems like five years), have been interesting. Some days I’m up and ready to go, other days I feel lonely and isolated. It’s definitely been an unexpected lifestyle change. One of those changes is this new pace of life. Life in this slower pace has nudged me to dig deep, get up-close and personal with my complications, short-comings, gifts and mistakes. This new pace has not been without its challenges, but it’s also been full of lessons.

The beauty of slowing down is that I’ve been spending more time with my spouse, and family members, while limiting outside activities which kept me busy. I was ALWAYS busy. I wouldn’t take a breath until my head hit the pillow at night. That’s how I’ve always been. In retrospect, I think I was afraid of what the silence might bring. I remember a friend saying years ago when I owned my business, “You know Nicki, if you don’t slow down, you’ll look back 30 years from now and wonder where life went?” Ooof! Sucker punch. At the time she said this, it went over my head. But during the past 5 months, I realize her words were spot on.

So what exactly has this time revealed? Honesty. I’ve been able to slow down long enough to be honest with myself. I’ve discovered that busy-ness is not a virtue. My busy-ness has prevented me from living fully. I’ve learned that I have failed to fully appreciate the incredible teacher life is. I have failed to connect with the present moment on a more regular basis. And finally, I have failed to embrace the importance and impact of connectedness.

The first lesson revealed is that I have been going THROUGH life versus being IN life. It’s said that there are no better lessons than life lessons. If we’re paying close enough attention, we’ll marvel at the lessons that abound. Wisdom knows that lessons are infinite. But age doesn’t guarantee wisdom anymore than clouds guarantee rain. No matter our age, we are perpetual students, if we’re willing to pay attention. That my friends, is a gift.

Being present. I used to think that was so cliche. “Being in the moment” seemed to be overused. However, I’ve never been one to be still long enough to actually BE in the moment. Perhaps my constant state of busy stemmed from the fear of not knowing what to do if I was actually in the moment! In retrospect, it was that thinking which kept me from living IN each moment. Because I’ve been busy being busy, I couldn’t make space for the present. Being in the moment isn’t some woo-woo thing, it simply means I have my mind, heart and body feeling, hearing and understanding what moments in life are teaching, (See Lesson 1). It could be joy, fear, surprise, shame, doubt, love. When I’m able to stop long enough and not worrying about “what’s next”, I’m able to learn more about what brings out the best and worst in me. Like what I’m sharing in this post! Being unable to connect with moments in life, reduces opportunities to grow. Growth happens when we’re able to make time to just “be.” BE quiet, BE grateful, BE aware, BE present, BE kind, BE awesome!

Finally, the lesson that I most treasure is the impact of connectedness. We are in everything and everything is in us. I’m sure I read that somewhere but honestly, that saying is what has become ultra clear to me. We are ALL connected to one another, as well as the sky, the earth, our waters, etc. We are all connected. When I am angry at myself, that anger is transferred externally. When I make a negative comment, or share negative information with others, that goes out and manifests in ways that does not serve this universe well. It’s all about energy, and if I’m negative, my energy is negative, and that’s what I’m sending out. Personally, I think this is where our world is right now. We’ve become so self-absorbed and so disconnected, we have created negativity that won’t be healed until we are able to heal ourselves. This new understanding of connectedness helps me appreciate the importance of being a positive human. What I am, I transfer. Cool.

I admit that I have not figured life out, no one ever does. I am simply in the process of understanding and appreciating it more fully. When I’m able to slow down, be in the moment, be more connected, the richer I feel. These past five months have been devastating to some, creating chaos and divide. Perhaps for those of us that have been able to slow down, listen and learn, it will serve to make us better humans. Perhaps it’s exactly what we need to close the divide and reduce the chaos. I believe when we’re better, we’re able to better serve others. Hmmm, another life lesson!

What lessons have you learned during this time?

One response to “What I’ve Learned by Slowing Down”

  1. I have learned so so many lessons not just from being still through this pandemic but just in the last two years as I approach the two year anniversary of losing my sister ,my hero , my biggest fan , my best friend … losing her husband the same day and 8 months later my first born child , my sweet boy ,my kind sensitive son .I learned that life is so so precious and we need to LOVE our families MORE .. I said in my sister’s eulogy I loved her so much and yet I felt she loved me MORE .. I remember not liking that feeling and it has changed me forever I am now determined to live out the rest of my life SHOWING my loved ones that I love them MORE.. I don’t want anyone to love me more than I love them … “All we need is love” God is love ..to know God is to know love … we were put on this earth to love one another unconditionally .. without judgement ..to forgive those who hurt us , as God forgives us …
    “Be still and know that I am God”
    Psalm46:10 God asks us to be still and listen for his soft quiet voice and to fear not because he is always with us .. through the storms , the darkness , the good days and bad .. we must have faith !!!! Without it I have no idea where I would be right now … and you are right in saying with age comes wisdom but ONLY if we are willing to learn ..❤️

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