Tag Archives: slowing down

Hello, From The Deep

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I dove even deeper inside myself today.
The children were at school;
they’d be with their dad tonight,
and I had nowhere else to go.
I slowed down.
I wrote.
I listened to music.
I read.
I cried.
I weeded my flower garden,
took out the recycling,
affirmed
I let go of what I no longer need
so that I can welcome what I really want
into my life.
I took a long hot bath.
I took a nap.
I heard him tell me
in the echo of my memory
You’re just a squatter;
you don’t own that house.
I snuggled in deeper under the covers
and I slept more.
Yes, at some point
I’ll have to figure myself and my life out.
At some point
I’ll most likely need to make some money
to support myself and my children
after all this time.
But it wasn’t today.
Today was for slowing down
and going deeper.
Hello, from the deep.

Return to the Truth

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I realized it doesn’t always have to be
quick and dramatic…
sometimes it’s nice to take time.
My modern mind has been raised
on instant gratification
but my ancient heart
has its own rhythm.
All this time my mind
has clamored for attention
as if it’s the only one who matters here.
Meanwhile my heart waits
patiently as ever
trusting that the time will come
when I return to the truth of my being.

NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 27: The Star

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Today’s prompt: take an image from the tarot deck and build your poem from there. I love trying something new.  And I’ve loved the tarot since I was in middle school.  Win-Win!

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She nourishes the land and sea
with her naked essence;
her vulnerability renders her
impossibly beautiful.
She is so focused on her task
of sharing the life giving waters
She doesn’t hear the little bird
chirping in her ear.
If she could,
this is what it would be saying:
Slow down, dear,
take your time.
Give of yourself, yes,
but let it pour forth slowly.
There is no hurry
and this world may not be ready
for a flood.
You don’t have to try so hard;
you are already good.

Slow Down

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Slow down,
let it flow.
Feel more,
let it go.
Sometimes the hurry
leads to a flurry
of neurotic tendencies,
disappointment
at productivity lost.
When you slow down,
you see more,
you hear more,
you are present.
When you know
why you’re doing
what you’re doing,
it informs the how.
Slow down
and be purposeful.
Time doesn’t matter
when you’re living
from your essence.

I Breathed

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This morning
as I sat in stillness and listened,
I received these instructions
from my Teachers:

Breathe in,
Welcome the moment as it is,
Breathe out,
release expectations.
When you can let go of your ideas 
of how things should be,
you have space in your mind
to enjoy them as they are.

So today I was reminding myself,
Breathing in, I accept this moment as it is.
Breathing out, I let go of expectations.

Breathing in, I welcome this moment with open arms
breathing out, I feel gratitude for what is

Breathing in, I feel love in this moment, exactly as it is,
breathing out, I express this love in my thoughts, words and deeds.

And you know what?
I remembered to breathe!
And you know what else?
It felt pretty darn good!

It helped me to relax
when I felt hurried to get out the door
and was on the verge of expressed irritability
because my kids were moving so slowly.

But I did not yell.

Instead I said aloud:

Breathing in, I welcome this moment as it is,
Breathing out, I let go of expectations.

I breathed.

They watched me breathe and were curious.
They heard me repeat the words and grew silent.
I slowed down, let my shoulders drop away from my ears.
They took a deep breath with me;
we all relaxed and enjoyed the drive
to meet my mom for lunch.

I might just go pat myself on the back now.

Relaxing Into Contentment

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Slow down,
please slow down,
and take a deep breath.
Yes.
Take another deep breath.
Now look.
Do you see what lies before you?
Look again.
Do you see what lies within you?
Now breathe again.

Do you feel this life?
Can you dance with the uncertainty?
Can you love what you have
even when you think you deserve something else?
Can you live with the disappointment
until it reveals to you what you need to know?
Can you reach for what is good and true
and then change your ideas of “good” and “true”?

How can you notice all this subtle beauty
if you are constantly rushing, breakneck pace, no pause?
Come home.
Come home to yourself.
Nothing is more important than your homecoming.

So slow down please.
Stop.
Take a deep breath.
Now look.
Do you see?

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Since trading in our gas guzzling 2012 Dodge Durango for a much more fuel efficient 2014 Toyota Prius V and completely changing the way I drive, I’ve noticed some pretty incredible shifts in the way that I experience my every day life.

An eight cylinder hemispherical engine packs a lot of power…back in the days of driving the Dodge, whenever I was stopped at a light on my way to work, on my way to an appointment, or really just on my way, I would plan to quickly leap ahead of anyone I could so that I wouldn’t be stuck behind some unfocused cell phone using ninny who didn’t boast the same strategic driving skills as yours truly.  I would feel my system flooded with adrenaline as I anticipated the light changing and putting the pedal to the metal to take off from the intersection as quickly as possible.  I would still give a quick glance left and right when the light changed to make sure that the intersecting traffic had stopped, but I would take off as quickly as I could and feel satisfied by the roar of the engine and the pull of the g-forces as I left the other ninny drivers in the dust.  Oh, the beautiful torque. Boy–what a dummy I was with that Dodge.

Such behavior left me hurrying everywhere I went.  Such behavior cost me a great deal of peace of mind,  put a strain on my body, trickled into my parenting, my marriage, my housecleaning, my meditation practice, and most especially the way I perceive my personal evolution:  my growth into the person I most want to be.  I was living a glaringly obvious breach of authenticity and it left me feeling uncomfortable on a very deep level. I mean, come on–I was teaching my students to be gentle with themselves, to give themselves time to notice subtle sensations and make mindful choices about how they transition from pose to pose–and “All of this can be achieved,” I told them, “by slowing down”–yet I was unable to slow down in my own life, and this left me feeling like I was living a lie.

And then one fine blue sky day my husband drove away with the Dodge and came back with the Prius.  I was resistant at first, thought I’d miss all that power.  I didn’t even want to drive it at first, out of some kind of weird loyalty to the Dodge.  But then my husband told me about hypermiling, gave me a rough estimate of how much money we’d save by fueling up less often, offered me a few tips about how to drive more fuel efficiently, and my whole outlook changed.

Okay, I told myself…I have been feeling uncomfortable about my aggressive driving for years now, afraid that one of my students or colleagues would see me behind the wheel and feel shocked and disappointed and lose respect in my teaching because of what they witnessed.  I have been acutely aware of the stress reaction in my body in response to my driving choices.  I have felt guilty about the toll my fossil fuel consumption is taking on the earth and her resources.  I was exhausted by all of the hurrying around, by the anger I directed at other drivers, assuming that they were out to get me, to hold me back.  Maybe I’m not losing out by giving up the powerful car.  Maybe I’m actually gaining something precious.  Maybe something will change.  I think it’s time.

So I started slowing waaaaaaaaaay down.  I began playing a game with myself called “Get the best MPG possible” everywhere I went.  Because I wanted to consume less gas, I was taking my time accelerating.  I was watching the cars up ahead and anticipating stopping well before I needed to use my brakes, so that I could coast to a stop and save gas and my brakes.  For once I was consistently going the speed limit, so I wasn’t worried about being caught by police officers who were looking out for speeders.  And I discovered that driving felt calming, relaxing, soothing even, meditative even…

I stopped worrying that someone I knew would see me driving and be appalled.  That was a relief.  I began to take myself more seriously when I would once again encourage my students to slow down in their yoga practice. I started feeling like I had more time…I wasn’t arriving any later than before. Well, maybe a minute or two later max–but how ridiculous it was to think that I was saving myself time by driving like a maniac!!  I leave the same amount of time to get where I’m going as I left myself before, and without speeding at all, I’m arriving at the same time. Epiphany.

And then I noticed that I was slowing down around my kids.  When I held my two year old son up to the sink today to wash his hands, I wasn’t just trying to get it done as quickly as possible so that I could get on to the next thing.  At first we were just there, the water was running, I was pumping the soap onto his hands, and I noticed suddenly that I was being a little brusque, a little too fast; so I slowed down.  I used a gentler touch… and it struck me how precious his little hands were, how soft, how tiny his fingers were, how much of a privilege it was to hold him, and there was this outpouring of love coming from me…and whatever thing he was doing two minutes before that was annoying the crap out of me had suddenly melted out of my consciousness.

As I have started to see myself relaxing while driving, while parenting, while teaching, this miraculous thing is happening where I have more space to see and appreciate all that I have.  Because my mind isn’t cluttered with a list of to-dos, with the urgency that I have to get this and that done so that I can rush on to the next thing, there is room in my awareness to just be present and enjoy the sound of the keys on this keyboard as my fingers tap them.  There is room to hear my son’s breathing as he concentrates deeply on fitting a puzzle piece into its proper position.  I can listen to my daughter singing, I can watch her light steps, and I’m not waiting for her to be bigger so that she can stop making messes.

How can it be that one little choice can have such far-reaching effects?  But isn’t this what the greatest thinkers of all time have been telling us forever?  That God is in the details, that the little things in life count, that every thought matters, that all of our actions have rippling effects…

It feels good to live my way into this knowing.  It feels good to adapt to a way of being that promotes health and deeper connection.  How about my decision to give up half of my yoga classes so that I can spend more time with my family?  This happened because I became so acutely aware of my frantic drive to develop myself professionally, and how this drive was leaving little room for my loved ones.  My hurry sickness was giving me tunnel vision, and once I slowed down, I saw the bigger picture and realized that nothing is more precious than my family.  I could’ve told you before that my time with my family was precious, but I wasn’t living it until now.

So there it is.  I slowed down, it helped me to relax, and now I’m feeling this great sense of contentment welling up in me.  It wasn’t some groundbreaking event that happened.  I didn’t win the lottery.  I wasn’t nominated as best yoga teacher in the universe.  I didn’t teach myself how to levitate, or see remotely, or read other people’s thoughts.  I’m not living in my dream home, we have no plans to go on my dream vacation, and there are still dirty dishes in my sink, crumbs underneath the table, and cat litter on the floor right by my bed. No major explosion of genius or windfall of material wealth has happened.  There’s only this gentle realization that slowly dawned on me, and a feeling of being so incredibly grateful for it.

Thank you life for revealing how awesome you are, and thank you for being patient with me as I toddle my way into realizing what really matters.

 

 

The Gift of Slowing Down

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Slowing down has taught me some things…
I have learned that I don’t arrive any later,
but I do arrive more relaxed, more peaceful,
and I’m saving a lot on gas.

I see cars whipping around me,
drivers in a hurry,
hurrying up to wait
and I’m ambling along,
coasting to the red light,
catching up to them.

I slide into the spaces those who hurry leave behind.
I see the world around and I am peaceful.

There is much more of a flow now
as I am no longer swimming upstream
having given up the frantic pace,
the fight to keep up,
the fight against the current.

No more fight–I have let go.
I have allowed myself to be absorbed in the great ocean of being.

This is the gift of slowing down.