Slow. Down.

Another great shot captured by Jordan

When I decided to jump back into blogging I knew this time would have to be somewhat different. I took the pressures off of myself by removing any kind of goal on weekly or even monthly posts quotas and just figured I’d go with the flow. I’d wait for the Universe to speak to me and I’d write what my heart told me to. Some days it may tell me to share a cake recipe (boy, do I have a great one!). Other days a new toothpaste (going to share that one soon too, I LOVE it!) In the last post laughter was called for, via Cletus. Today I’m to remind both myself and any of you reading of something I find very, very important in this crazy, super fast paced world… Slow. Down.

After a very long and much needed holiday break I’ve been trying to figure out when the girls and I should start school back up again. Yesterday was an official “holiday” and while that doesn’t really affect us, I knew I could use one more day to catch up on odds and ends. What’s one more day, right? But then I remembered Tuesday was supposed to be co-op pick-up day, and all of a sudden I was looking at Wednesday, and I hate starting school again with anything less than a full week. Losing Monday was bad enough, but two days? It’s always an adjustment for all of us and the longer we have to re-acclimate and settle in the better.

So, I decided to play it by ear and stop trying to plan so much. Plans usually explode in my face now anyway, and letting life unfold has become one of the most peaceful changes of the last several years for me. However, I broke one of my firm rules and made a list. Darn lists. They used to be so much fun for me, now all they do is create mounting pressure as I look at the very long list of ‘to-dos’. And this list was a doozy. Some were short and easy (I crossed those off right away) while others required much more time (like the 7 clipboards I still have waiting to be listed…) I began to hear the quiet, patient Spirit voice imploring me to slow down.  Please slow down. 

I was crossing things off the list like mad, and making good progress, but after my initial paced and steady start I could feel myself getting tense. Again, still quietly, I heard, slow down. Slow down. I tried to listen, really, but then I’d get sucked into a new job and feel myself rushing, rushing, rushing. Where was the day going? So much to do… Slow down.

Before I knew it lunch time was upon us. Mmmm, pasta with basil, veggies and olive oil, summer squash, cabbage and chocolate cake for dessert. I finally felt myself settling down some as I fell into the quiet routine of chopping, slicing and dicing. Lunch was cooking, aromas were building, kitchen was clean, and briefly I felt much calmer. So calm in fact that I figured I had time to list an item or two while everything was happily bubbling away on the stovetop. Bad, bad, bad idea.

To an individual such as myself who aspires to live a present, conscious and awakened existence, multi-tasking is one of the top things to avoid. It divides my focus into so many different, separate tasks that nothing gets done with attention and care. Everything just gets done. Period. No joy accompanies even the everyday chores that inherently contain peace if done in a conscious and deliberate fashion. The ultimate goal is to accomplish as many things simultaneously as one can without enough regard to presence and care. First, I write a list. Next, I multi-task… Slow down (spoken much more forcefully but sadly, with equal disregard on my part).

Of course I begin to lose track of things and the tension is mounting. Is the cabbage burning? Why won’t this picture load? Did I stir the pasta? Uggghhh. I was being such a dope. The Universe decided on a course of action, not intent on punishing or reprimanding me, but only making me see where I was losing my way. I didn’t listen to the first 30 kind and gentle 'slow downs'. I didn’t listen to my feelings of anxiety, pressure and irritation. I was throwing away any hope of a peaceful, yet accomplished day constantly referring to that stupid, silly list.

Finally, I tear myself from the computer and rush over to rescue my veggies, sure to be burning, and in my haste, my finger slides under the cover into the hot, steamy pan. SLOW. DOWN. As endorphins flooded my body I didn’t feel much pain at first but upon inspection I could see it was pretty nasty, and it wasn’t long before my body realized it was out of immediate danger and intense pain and burning flooded my hand. After quelling the nausea I got Jordan and Riley into the kitchen to finish lunch preparations and I retired to the couch where I wondered why I had been so darn thick-headed that I had to bring myself to this. Remember what I said recently about it being so stinkin’ hard to be human? Case in point. We can be so, so stubborn, to the point of our own destruction.

I’ll skip over the details now and get to the point. While lying on the couch, (arm constantly raised above my head because as soon as I lowered it and blood rushed to my sad, sad, little finger I wanted to cry from the pain ~ yes, I was a ridiculous sight) I realized that now I would have to slow down, wouldn’t I? The stupid list flew from my head and I had only two thoughts now ~ well, at least I can finish my book and boy, would I like a nap. So, I did both. I spent a quiet afternoon on the couch snuggled up with Jordan under a blanket, arm propped high on countless pillows, reading, resting and healing the hours away. So much different than my original plans for the day and yet so totally more deliciously rewarding.

I didn’t have to get to that painful point, but it was inevitable. I’m not sad or upset it happened, how can I be when I’ve asked the Universe time and time again to show me the way when I lose sight of where I want to be. It was what I needed to listen, in my manic to-do list mindset. Many of us live everyday like this. Crazy as the minutes tick past and yet another day slips by with things, chores and duties left unfinished. By slowing down I don’t mean you have to forget the details of everything life. I still approach each day knowing what I’d like to accomplish, what I realistically have time for, and what can wait until another day. I just (usually) do it slower. Mindfully. It makes crossing things off that list, whether an actual physical list or only a mental tally, so much more gratifying and satisfying when done with purpose and intent. And I rarely injure myself in the process…

So, as my finger continues to heal today (and it is doing so with amazing speed) I find myself looking at it often and find I’m strangely filled with gratitude at this not so subtle reminder. Why the rush? Where do I have to go that is more important than here? Approach each moment with reverence and care. Enjoy life. Slow down, Melinda. Slow down.

Wishing you all a mindful, peaceful and injury free day. J

Peace & blessings ~ Melinda