Sunday, March 8, 2015

Simple Challenge

Here’s an experiment. Slow down. Just for today. After my yoga practice the other day I challenged the women in my class to slow down for the rest of the day. That could mean chew your food slower, drive slower, talk slower, breath slower or read slower, shower slower… we do so many things in a day.

The day before, I was getting a massage and thought several times, “She’s doing this so slowly!” As if she weren’t going to get to my whole body before our time was up, it got under my skin. Then I realized, “She’s not in a hurry, why am I?” Seriously? Was I in a hurry during a massage of all things? That’s messed up!
What would it look like to take up the challenge to slow down? Just for a day? Might we be surprised at how much we enjoy the simple, routine things we do every day? Maybe we’d stop calling our everyday tasks “chores”.

As I left yoga that morning, I purposefully and mindfully drove one mile per hour under the speed limit. It was a challenge, indeed! I’m not saying I have a lead foot, but, let’s just say I giggled. A lot!

This meant:

*Letting others get ahead of me! Ouch! Am I really that competitive? Yes, I’m laughing at myself right now, but, sheesh – I didn’t realize how important it was to me to be in front of the other cars!
*Using the right lane, you know, the “slow” lane!
*Not “gunning it” at the traffic signals; either to beat the light (skating through on pink) or to be the first one off the mark when the light eventually turned green for me.
*Laughing at myself all the way down the street. Who knew I was such a control freak when it comes to road travel? Well, my husband probably knew that. I always have a better or faster route to take, or would be in a different lane, because, clearly, I am an aggressive driver.

Eating slowly meant I got full faster. Well, not faster, but before my food was gone. Wow, who knew? It really is true. And, of course, getting full before my food was gone challenged me to leave some on my plate. I’m learning to do that, too.

And eating slowly also turned into eating more mindfully. Chewing each bite slowly, actually tasting each bite, instead of scarfing it down. One reason we love to eat - food tastes good! So why do we rush through this pleasure?

Breathing is something we do without thinking, every minute of the day. Our bodies just do it on their own. However, if we pay a little attention to it, we can breathe more deeply and bring instant stress release to our bodies. You know, the stress that comes from being the most aggressive driver on the road? Or having just devoured our lunch standing up or sitting behind the steering wheel because we’re in such a hurry to get to the rest of our chores.

Stress can melt away quickly and easily with a few slow breaths. Now, will all stressors in our day fall away? No. Well, I doubt it. But, in the few moments you take to breathe deep, mindful breaths, you can sort out the real stress factors from the ones you’ve created in your own mind while you were hurrying through your day. Hmmmm…..the ones that fall into that last category may be the bulk of the tightness in our shoulders.

How much beauty escapes us, simply because we’re in a hurry?

What else might you slow down, today? What will that look like? Slow down and let me know what it meant to your day!

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (I lack nothing.)
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  -  Psalm 23 (NKJV)

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