As I lay in the sauna with nothing to do except breathe and sweat, I heard it.
It sounded like a whisper at first, but as I noticed it became loud and clear:
You haven’t been paying attention to me.
That’s what my body was saying.
I was quite surprised. I had been feeling out of alignment and was doing everything I knew to get back into it: eating healthy, exercising, even self-care practices like the sauna…
But it was rote.
I had been going through the motions of what I thought would get me back in touch, the things that had worked in the past.
But I wasn’t really listening.
There was always a barrage of things going through my mind at the same time I did all these things. All the things that I should be doing, that needed to get done.
All the while, my body had been screaming that I needed to slow down but I kept not paying attention because… well, shit needed to get done, bills paid, and slowing down was not an option.
I’d been operating from an ‘I know better’ capacity from my mind, totally immersed on trying to control my experience instead of listening to the wisdom within.
Even I, professing about the wisdom in the body and listening to it, even I fell into this hamster wheel of how things ‘should be’ so I can get the things I want.
I laugh because… Oh, the irony!
I used to teach that slowing down needed to come first and these were the exact things my clients used to tell me.
And I would say that slowing down is how we reconnect and recharge and get clear so all that action is focused instead of all over the place.
Slowing down makes our minds clearer and gets us in touch with another source of intelligence, our bodies. We get more creative and make better decisions which are more fulfilling; we feel more at peace and focused action comes from a place of inspiration instead of from anxiety, stress, and seeking approval.
And it’s still true, but I had forgotten.
I hadn’t been trusting that wisdom in my body, but when somehow I heard that faint whisper in the sauna… tears started streaming down my cheeks because I remembered.
It’s not worth it to get the things you want, but not be able to enjoy them because your thoughts are telling you something is not perfect or to get on to the next thing that just appeared in your list.
There’s no enjoyment in that, and life will always feel like a never-ending list of tasks if lived that way.
I’m not bashing the mind; it’s an incredible tool. But it needs to be applied where appropriate and not where it’s not.
And I’ve not been doing a good job of distinguishing that.
Sometimes we need to buckle down and just get shit done even if it’s not what we feel like doing, but that’s not where the difference lies.
The difference is in whether we’re taking action out of creativity or out of trying to compensate for a perceived lack.
The first one will feel great even if we don’t feel like doing the proverbial ass-in-chair method, the second one will always feel draining in the end because we’re chasing the dragon of approval, ours or someone else’s.
Practicing slowing down and putting everything that needs to ‘get done’ aside is an excellent way to fill ourselves up with that approval and self-acceptance that we don’t need to be anything other than what we are right now, so that our actions can come from a place of offering instead of taking.
And so what if progress is slower? It’s still progress and it will feel a hell of a lot better throughout the journey and when we get ‘there’.
It’s time to put the slow first.
Will you join me?
I would love to know what comes up for you when you’re asked to slow down.
For me, the fear is that I won’t get the things I want and I’ll have wasted my life doing nothing. Yet I’ve tried it both ways and seen that it’s not worth it when I get what I want but cannot appreciate it.
There is a precious integration that happens when we can get our ass-in-chair out of inspiration and commitment instead of a perceived sense that we lack something to be lovable or successful.