Why you should slow down and take your time

Sometimes it seems this world is in such a rush to get somewhere and especially to cram as much as possible into the short time we have to live this human incarnation.

But doesn’t rushing feel like skating on the surface?

And doesn’t cramming it all in feel confining and stifling and like there’s no space for joy to wrap around the experience?

In our efforts to realise our dreams, we skip over uncertainty, and we don’t mine the gifts of our procrastination, fears, avoidant tendencies and other blocks.

I’m a proponent of slowing down and taking your time.

In my work place, I see time and time again how too much focus on getting the job done often in a rush and not enough focus on the unfolding journey called process causes errors, sub-standard work and re-works making the journey take twice as long and a whole heap of frustration and lost goodwill. A lot of business studies have shown that slowing down is the way to speed up.

As a scuba diver, swimming too fast has two implications:
The first is that you will suck your tank dry of air quickly and your dive time will be greatly reduced;
The second is that you won’t see all the camouflaged, hidden and tiny creatures as you swim right past them. You might see more of a big site but really you will see less.

As a pilgrim (or hiker or every day walker), walking through the world brings you into direct contact with the world around you, the ground, the sky, the weather, the sounds, the smells, the textures, the small and hidden details, in a way you can’t experience it in a bus or train or car.

As a meditator, your experience of life slows right down to this moment, this breath, this inhale then exhale, the thoughts floating through like passing clouds and all the sensations that are here to be noticed and felt fully.

There’s a time to leap and jump and swing through life, and there’s a time to bust through your procrastination and other blocks that hold you back, but mostly I think we need to slow down.

The fullness of life is not in how much we do or how far we go or how much we achieve but in how deeply we experience and treasure each moment that it presents, even the ones we want to bypass or reject.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

Riding the wave

Dear ones,

Here, it is Monday once again, and I turn up to this sacred space exactly as I am. I haven’t chosen a topic or sketched out a post or planned anything. I am empty-handed.

Isn’t it funny how we have been conditioned to believe that if we visit a friend we must bring something with us to offer, that it’s not enough to show up exactly as we are, as if our presence, time and attention alone is not a great gift to those around us, that we must always offer something more.

I am learning to trust intimately and on a deeper level this showing up without an agenda or plan: To be quiet and unknowing, unplanned and surrendered. To listen more deeply and surrender the impulse to respond. To wholly know silence as I wrote last week.

It feels raw and edgy because it goes against the grain of so much I have learned about life and business including goals, plans, strategies, schedules, busy-ness, doing, pushing, adding value, having an opinion and how to be successful.

This way of being feels more open, present, receptive and in tune with the world seen and unseen around me, flowing effortlessly and with grace.

When I show up to life without my own agenda or plan, I show up with the ears of my heart listening for what truly wants to be expressed beneath the surface. When I stop judging and posturing and controlling, I can allow what wants to be expressed through me to come through. I show up willing to be aligned to something greater than my self.  Usually I experience a great magic and mystery that I could never plan along with deep contentment in my soul.

So while all of this unfolds and integrates, a small scared part of me wonders how will I ever successfully publish my book if I don’t do the old way of planning, strategising, scheduling, pushing, adding value, and if I don’t keep taking linear steps. But the truth is I’ve been trying to figure out a publishing plan this way for a while now and it doesn’t work for me. I just feel stuck.

I’ve spent a lot of time on and in the ocean thanks to scuba diving and my love of a tropical sea. I have been dumped by big waves and I’ve kicked against strong currents without getting anywhere. To me, bliss is floating on the ocean’s surface for hours or even better, being suspended neutrally buoyant in its blue plane.

The ocean is a powerful and beautiful thing. Merging with it taps you into something so much bigger than your small self and the oneness of all things.

We all have our own paths to walk, our own waves to ride in this life. I have no idea where this current wave I am riding is going, or where or if it will land on shore. I cannot control where the wave wants to go. And I’m not meant to. I’m just here to ride it.

With love and courage,

Kym

xx

Are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

Dear ones,

I am still catching up with myself after returning from Italy last weekend and celebrating my husband’s birthday this weekend. I’ve never been one to suffer jet lag. Usually a long sleep when I return is enough to get me back in synch. But this time jet lag hit me hard with a lot of brain fog and disturbed sleeping patterns for the last week.

Last week, one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver passed away. In case you don’t know of her, Mary was an American and prize -winning poet, having won the Pulitzer prize. Her poems focused on nature, her relationship to it and a sense of wonder.

I am so grateful for her poems. Reading them drops me into my own deeper relationship with nature and my soul. They remind me of what is truly important. And often wake something up in me, helping me look at my life and the world around me in a different way.

The beauty of Mary’s poems is that often they are a mediative container that opens you to the one line you really need to hear.

One of my favourite poems is, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches.” Whilst I would love to share it with you here, copyright laws prohibit this.

In the three pages of this poem, there is one line that has always stood out to me as a guiding star:

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

Sometimes I breathe shallow to avoid deep feelings.

Sometimes I feel like I get stuck on the surface of life unable to dive as deeply in the outer world as I do in my inner world.

Sometimes I get distracted from what really matters to me.

To me, there is an urgent reminder in this question. Life is short. Don’t waste it. Don’t get stuck pursuing things that don’t matter.

Although the question has a yes or no answer, in my mind, it is really asking, if you are breathing just a little, how can you breathe a little more deeply? How can you take in more life? How can you be more true to yourself?

So dear ones, I leave you with these questions. If you would like to share you responses with me, please feel free to email me or leave a comment below the blog post.

And to Mary Oliver, thank you for your wisdom, inspiration and teachings that live on in the legacy of poems you leave behind.

With love and courage,

Kym xx