Slow Down.

Two weekends ago I made a trip to North Jersey to visit my family. It's not a far drive but it gets a little monotonous. And while I've been doing my best to enjoy the scenery and time to myself I do sometimes have a slight lead foot. I'm not talking whizzing by every single car or driving recklessly but I was going over the speed limit. And then it happened.

An undercover cop made his presence known to me.

I slowed down but was still nervous. Even more so when he pulled behind me and then alongside me. I must have cashed in tons of karma points that day because instead of being pulled over he got on the loudspeaker and told me to slow down. I nodded and did as I was told for the rest of the drive. And you know what? It made a huge difference in the experience.

Simply slowing down.

His words have stuck with me since that morning. As I've gotten older I've lost a lot of the road rage and racing-to-get-to-nowhere tendencies. I really have. There is just something about the parkway and turnpike that make me impatient. But getting off with such a quick warning struck me hard. Not only have I applied this with my driving, I really took it to heart.

I've been striving for some time to be more present and this fell in line with that. I take the days one at a time. I enjoy the simple things more. I don't rush out the door in the morning. I pay better attention to my surroundings. I don't speed through my work. I take the time to really touch base with my friends throughout the day. I sit down and fully enjoy my meals. I make the time to call distant relatives. I skip the gym in favor of lying in bed watching tv with my niece. I am learning to be patient in what comes next for me once I leave this job in a few weeks.

Simply put: I am better learning the value of time. I am digging deeper to find what nourishes my soul, and I feel more complete because of it. All it takes is slowing down.

I'm sure plenty of people will think that is easier said than done but I assure you it is not. When you feel yourself tensing up and experiencing a level of stress or anxiety, just stop and breathe. When you feel rushed, stop and breathe. It really is as easy as that. Breathe.

Remember, driving faster, working faster, eating faster.. none of these things will make you feel better once they are over. You won't get to where you are going or achieve what it is you hope to feel by not fully experiencing that moment. You'll continue to rush through the motions and in the end you'll be left feeling flat.

It takes patience and practice to be fully present in this moment. I assure you, though, it is possible and it is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.


Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin said...

I absolutely love this post. I have really been trying to practice this lately too and have noticed how much it's impacted my mood/happiness. I think in our society we have a tendency to believe that the faster and more efficiently we do things, the better. But you are right that yes that may bring us to the end quicker, but the experience won't even be remembered so what's the point? Love this post.

Tara said...

Hi Kris!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I thought I would return the favour. What a great post. I love the idea of being more "present". I am totally one of those people that is constantly rushing around and I need to remember to stop and breathe! Happy Saturday! Tara