5 things worth slowing down for
Slow isn’t my normal speed. I walk quickly, type quickly, clean house quickly, stack firewood quickly.
None of those are necessarily bad. But there are some things worth slowing down for.
While serving as Survivorship Coordinator at the St. Charles Cancer Center, we hosted a number of stellar activities for survivors and caregivers, including an active cancer hike-and-snowshoe posse.
Michelle, a running coach, approached us one day. “What about a weekly walking group for cancer survivors and caregivers who aren’t ready to take on the wilderness?”
Michelle’s class was officially named Walking for Wellness. But it quickly came to be known as Walking-4-Wellness-But-We’re-Really-Here-For-The-Coffee-Afterward.
Back in the formative days, I served as trail sweep and was responsible for making sure the group behaved reasonably well in public.
Confession: I’ve repeatedly failed as sergeant-at-arms when it comes to public behavior.
Earlier this month, we commandeered a pirate ship in a playground along the river. And in the process, we drove a few kiddos away. Oops.
It’s good for me to slow down from my regular pace and enjoy the friendly chatter of my fellow walkers.
This thought from Iain Thomas:
And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, ‘This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’
And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No. This is what’s important.’
In no particular order, here are 5 things worth yanking your hand back for, and I bet you can come up with several more:
1. Outdoor physical activity and coffee (better yet, Chai tea). I walk or hike nearly every day. And my normal cadence is medium-high speed. But with the Walking-4-Wellness group, slow and meandering with multiple photo stops are par for the course. And it’s a very good slowing-down thing for me.
2. Our people. Long before my husband, Gary, was spending most of his days in a hospital bed in our living room, I put away my to-do lists and slowed down with him — playing Words with Friends and chatting while he was awake; reading or knitting when he dozed.
3. Cooking. As a widow, I eat simply. But for Christmas Eve this past year, I was in a vacation rental with a complete kitchen. It took a while to prepare a full meal. But oh, what fun it was to slow down in the kitchen and spend some time cooking with special friends in mind.
4. Gardening. By its very nature, gardening is a slowing-down event. I live in a beautiful little guest house on the side of a steep hill. My garden currently exists of one hanging flower basket, a birthday gift from daughter Summer and SIL Josh.
And although it doesn’t take me long to water my garden and pick off the dead flowers, after a recent discussion with a close friend, I’ve been slowing down and drinking in the simple pleasure of tending to my garden.
Not simply one more thing to check off my to-do list, but one more way to relish the simple pleasures of life.
5. Reading, journaling, contemplating – in gratitude. Brew a mug of tea. Grab a notepad and pen. Sit somewhere outdoors. Read. Contemplate life. Contemplate God and His creation. Capture your profound thoughts in writing.
This insight from Nanea Hoffman:
Note to self: When you are whizzing through your day and your body is full of stress, a good way to slow your galloping mind is to take one moment to be thankful, even for a tiny goodness.
Gratitude anchors you to the present. Then you can jump back into your regularly scheduled chaos with a bit of calm in your heart.
I’ve always been a doer. And yes, things need to get done. Jobs need to be tended to, and bills need to be paid, and scholarship applications and business plans and book proposals need to be submitted.
As surely as things need to get done, what if we could also just be?
Just be outdoors. Just be in a book, in an art project, in a leisurely FaceTime conversation.
Just be in the music, in the daydreaming, in the journaling.
Just be with the people we love because, speaking from experience, we won’t have them with us forever.