What happens when you slow down?
April has been a big reset month for me. I started the month coming off of my first book launch and the culmination of a lot of emotional work that went into completing that project. I’ve also had a lot of change in my life in the last two years. I’ve moved twice, started a business, started a new relationship, published a book, started a radio show, and navigated a lot of change and uncertainty amidst a global pandemic.
Luckily, I recognized a feeling of deep exhaustion and the need to reset, and I built that into my month.
I gave myself a week off and spent some lovely, unstructured time in nature and at one of my favorite places: the cabin in VT where I host personalized solo and small group retreats. I gave myself a retreat!
My intention going into my time off was: to spaciously, easefully rest and connect to the Earth. I did just that.
I listened to the birds and sat on the dock with my feet in the water. I went for my first canoe ride of the season and marveled at the magic of being on water. I lay in a hammock. I read books. I did a lot of writing. I cooked over the campfire. I did the things that restore and renew me.
And then I came back and jumped right into an intense Ayurvedic cleanse, which was literally a reset for my gut and my energy. A little too optimistically, I allotted myself five days of rest for the cleanse. In reality, it took up about two weeks to fully experience the challenging emotional and physical cleanse. I’m just now coming back to health and balance, and I learned A LOT about myself along the way.
For one thing, I was reminded of just how important it is for me to slow down. It’s key to everything I’m working on with clients – key to self-care, to spiritual practice, and to creating a meaningful life.
Part of the reason I love working with women on this issue is because it’s something I struggle with myself.
That’s one of my biggest takeaways from April: Even though I think about and talk about this all the time, it’s still SO hard for me to follow my own advice. To slow down. To listen to what my body needs. To put my needs above the needs of others.
Intellectually, I know why I need to slow down. I know why I encourage others to slow down. Here’s what happens when I slow down:
I notice more. I get in touch with my intuition. I can connect to my breath. I can feel what’s going on around me and within me.
I come into my heart, and into my body. I come in contact with my soul.
So why don’t I do it more? Why can’t we all just slow down and experience more of that inner stillness, that peace, that joy, and that ease?
Here are a few of my own blocks to slowing down:
I’m afraid I’ll feel low energy and bad forever.
I’m afraid I’ll lose momentum to do XYZ and stay stuck. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get going again.
I’m afraid of what I’ll find under the surface if I slow down. Sometimes, I keep running because it’s easier than feeling. Slowing down and tuning in means feeling, and that can be uncomfortable.
I’m afraid that my business and my relationships will fail if I step away from them.
I don’t know what will happen when I slow down, and that unknown in itself scares me.
I’m afraid that I’ll find something under the surface that I’m not ready to see – maybe something in my life that’s not working or that requires doing inner work that I’m just not ready for.
Some of what helps me work through these fears is remembering that everything is temporary. This, too, shall pass. Impermanence.
And trusting helps, too. Trusting myself, my life and the balance of the universe. Trust in my career, my friendships, my relationships and my life’s ability to adjust and hold me, through ups and downs and slow-downs and speed-ups.
When I can really lean into that trust, I can get to the other side of all that fear. I can get to more connection to self, connection to others, and connection to spirit and purpose. I can notice what’s going on within me and around me. I can access more compassion and more joy. And for that, I am grateful.
Does any of this ring true for you, too? I’d love to hear more about what keeps you from slowing down – and what happens when you do!