One of my intentions for the new year is to embrace ‘slower living,’ or at least get curious as to what this phrase actually means for me. As this past year came to an end, I started to reflect on the remarkable state my life was in. I say remarkable because some aspects of my life are just unbelievable, inspiring, and rapidly changing. Other areas of my life I’m experiencing struggles I never imagined for myself. I’m about to head into my 30’s, more loving and accepting, a successful entrepreneur, an inspired nutrition therapist, and a person with so much fulfillment and joy. Yet a few weeks ago I was telling my therapist how I often feel like I am watching someone else’s life go by.
It feels so confusing to be so damn proud and in love with this life, and at the same time like it might not be real. I feel that I need to slow down and connect more with life...and not in an extra yoga class kind of way.
I don’t mean slow down and not be productive. I mean I think the fast pace doesn’t actually benefit us. There has to be a way to be accomplished and connected.
We are rushing all of the time. What are we rushing toward? What is the end goal? We will always want the next thing. We are missing the entire point. Could it be that the very human need to please others is causing most of this chaotic pace?
I pride myself on being an intuitive eater and living an intuitive life overall, however clearly there is still some degree of autopilot happening. Autopilot for me has looked like just doing the next thing to get through a packed schedule, wasting energy doing things because I think I “should” and being fearful of delegating any of my work.
Slower living has no room for autopilot. It’s taking time multiple times a day to ground yourself and breathe, reminding yourself what day it is, what time it is, what the weather is, what your love ones are doing, and what your WHY is.
“Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
So what hinders us from connection?
Not having work boundaries is at the top of the list. Clicking through hundreds of notifications throughout the day, letting your inbox take over your life, and having no options. “This all has to be done, and it has to be done now.” Why are we so obsessed with control and what others think?! Not having boundaries outside of work can drain every bit of energy you have. Who are you spending time with? Do they engage in conversation that fills you up and aligns with your values? Perhaps one of the biggest barriers to slower living and connection with our lives is perfectionism. The world isn’t going to end if the towels aren’t folded your way, you don’t get to every email, the laundry isn’t done, or if you don’t complete even one task off your to-do list.
I believe with all of my heart that the body is a temple that should be respected. Spending so much time trying to please others or wasting time trying to be perfect isn’t using this body for it’s true purpose. I want to use this temple to its fullest potential.
So maybe we are all hustling just to get ahead of everyone else. The slower life doesn’t mean being less productive, and it certainly doesn’t mean chasing fewer dreams. Maybe it means we stop comparing, perfecting, and trying to get ahead of everyone else.