Always being rushed and in a hurry doesn't allow time for the soul to enjoy life, which is composed of small, ordinary moments that can be beautiful Our lives have become increasingly fast-paced, and the effort to keep up often occupies all our time and attention. We are so busy rushing from point A to point B that we forget to enjoy the ride. We race to the store without noticing the leaves on the trees or the clouds in the sky. We go through the checkout line feeling too pressed to converse with the cashier or the other people in line. At the end of a day filled with this kind of frantic pace, we may begin to wonder what it is we do all these things for, if we don't even have the time to occasionally stop and just take it all in. Always being rushed and in a hurry doesn't allow time for the soul to enjoy life, which is composed of small, ordinary moments, like watching snow fall from the sky, having a spontaneous conversation with a stranger, or lingering over a meal for several hours. Small towns and the people who live in them can teach us all a thing or two about living life to the fullest as a daily matter. City people have a tendency to think that their lives are full because they are doing so many different things, but in a small town, there tends to be more time left open to be spontaneous or take an extended moment of rest. This certainly doesn't mean that we can't live in a city and enjoy life fully -- we can and do; it just takes a little more awareness. One thing we can do, wherever we live, is bring awareness breaks into our day and take 10 minutes to simply look out the window and observe what's happening outside. We might also choose to cultivate a relationship with someone we see regularly, such as a clerk at the convenience mart or a neighbor. Taking time to have a conversation that is not necessary is a true luxury in this day and age, as is staring out the window. Participating in acts of timelessness makes the biggest city in the world start to feel a little bit more like a small town.
Take time to slow down, rushing never gets you anywhere but onto the next activity or goal. Life can often feel like it's zipping by in fast forward. We feel obliged to accelerate our own speed along with it, until our productivity turns into frenzied accomplishment. We find ourselves cramming as much activity as possible into the shortest periods of time. We disregard our natural rhythms because it seems we have to just to keep up. In truth, rushing never gets you anywhere but on to the next activity or goal. Slowing down allows you to not only savor your experiences, but also it allows you to fully focus your attention and energy on the task at hand. Moving at a slower place lets you get things done more efficiently, while rushing diminishes the quality of your work and your relationships. Slowing down also lets you be more mindful, deliberate, and fully present. When we slow down, we are giving ourselves the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves to our natural rhythms. We let go of the "fast forward" stress, and allow our bodies to remain centered and grounded. Slowing down is inherent to fully savoring anything in life. Rushing to take a bath can feel like an uncomfortable dunk in hot water, while taking a slow hot bath can be luxuriant and relaxing. A student cramming for a test will often feel tired and unsure, whereas someone who really absorbs the information will be more confident and relaxed. Cooking, eating, reading, and writing can become pleasurable when done slowly. Slowing down lets you become more absorbed in whatever it is you are doing. The food you eat tastes better, and the stories you read become more alive. Slowing down allows you to disconnect from the frenzied pace buzzing around you so you can begin moving at your own pace. The moments we choose to live in fast forward motion then become a conscious choice rather than an involuntary action. Learning to slow down in our fast-moving world can take practice, but if you slow down long enough to try it, you may surprise yourself with how natural and organic living at this pace can be. Text from Daily Om
It’s only natural to feel stressed from time to time. When we do, it’s important to address the feeling head-on. When we ignore our bodies’ signs that tell us to slow down, our stress can build up and eventually escalate, which can lead to burnout. Thrive asked its community to share with us the little hints from their bodies that tell them it’s time to slow down. Which of these signs are you experiencing? You’re having trouble focusing “If I notice I’m having difficulty focusing during the morning, and by noon I’m reaching for more coffee to wake up, I know I’m trying to do too much. When I notice it, I step away from everything and set my timer on my phone for three minutes to do some alternate nostril breathing. This strategy increases my energy and ability to focus.” —Kristin Meekhof, author and life coach, Royal Oak, MI You feel sore and achy “Over the years, I have been more mindful about the clues my body is trying to tell me. One physical sign that I need to slow down is tension in my upper body, especially in my neck. When that happens, I know that I need to amp up with my self-care. Some of my favorite activities are walking and listening to a guided meditation. There’s something about being outdoors while getting some movement that feels both rejuvenating and relaxing to me.” —Pamela Biasca Losada, health coach, Pittsburgh, PA You’re more cranky than usual “I get cranky when I’m overworked or feel stressed. I know I can’t put a finger on one single trigger and that’s a signal to slow down. I either take a nap or call up a friend who makes me feel better. After that, I give myself some breathing space to relax.” —Aakriti Agarwal, psychologist and coach, Hyderabad, India Your eye is twitching “I get a little eye twitch when my body hasn’t had enough rest, whether it was a busy work week or I had loads of home commitments. I used to power through the twitches during the week and try to sleep in on the weekends. What works better for me now is to commit to going to bed 20 minutes earlier for a few days. My body still wakes at the usual time it needs to wake, and the little extra time slowly gets me back on track.” —Donna Peters, executive coach and MBA faculty, Atlanta, GA Your neck feels stiff “One small way my body tells me to slow down is when I feel tension at the base of my neck. The tension is the warning signal, but if I ignore it, the tension can turn into a knot. The inflammation surrounding the knot feels like a throbbing pain, making it unbearable to work at my desk or sleep peacefully. To ease my stress levels, I’ve rearranged my schedule to incorporate more mindfulness exercises throughout my day. I begin my day with meditation, prayer, and gratitude journaling. And midway through my schedule, I take a walk outside to reconnect with nature.” —Karla J. Noland, personal development and executive coach, Durham, N.C. You’re especially tired “I know my body needs serious rest when I start to feel full-body fatigue and aches, that no amount of coffee can fix. When I start feeling this way, I try to find time for a nap during the day and go to bed early for the next few nights.” —Holly Fowler, health coach, Los Angeles, CA Your stomach is hurting “When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, my tummy starts feeling uncomfortable. This is a signal for me to step away from my desk, go on a short walk, change scenery, and be conscious about taking deep breaths. Being in tune with my body helps me stay productive throughout the day.” —Isabelle Bart, social impact coach, Orange County, CA You feel pressure in your head “It’s really obvious when my body tells me to slow down. My shoulders tighten like a vice until it feels like my head might pop right off! Whenever I begin to feel this way, there is one solution that is free, easy, and always works: sunlight. When I step outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, it lowers my stress and recharges me. On days when it is cloudy, I supplement this by breathing in fresh air, which has a similar effect.” —Joe Kwon, author, Oakland, N.J. You’re more clumsy than usual “When I start dropping things, I realize I’m in too much of a hurry. There is no such thing as multitasking. It’s just task shifting when I do that I drop things. I slow down and get more methodical when this happens. I also drop the ‘things’ that are extraneous or too strenuous on my body, mind, and spirit. It’s a reminder for me to slow down without distractions.” —Mary Joye, licensed mental health counselor, FL You feel like you’re in “fight or flight” mode “Last Tuesday was a great example of recognizing my body’s needs. I had a stressful morning at work as I needed to find a solution for an urgent problem. I succeeded but my body was in fight or flight mode for a few hours afterward. I felt like after a few coffees, my breath was shallow, and I started having a headache. This is a typical stress response for me. In these moments, I choose to push back my meetings and take care of myself first. Meditation at the beach and cold dips have helped me to release the tension.” —Paulina Kabaczuk, manager, Sydney, Australia Text from Thrive
So much of the human experience is removed from nature that we forget we are products of the natural world. At the moment of birth, we are perfectly attuned to nature. Our feelings are an authentic response to the stimulus we encounter. We interact with our environment viscerally, desiring only what is necessary for our survival. And, if we are lucky, we take in nourishment in the form of pure mother's milk. As months and years pass, however, we discover the sights, sounds, and scents of the synthetic world. Though these often momentarily dazzle us, the dim memory of our naturalness remains. When we embrace the notion that human beings are inherently natural, bringing it to the forefront of our day-to-day experiences, we achieve a new level of wellness that boasts nature at its very core. We innately understand that our bodies are not composed of plastics or man-made chemicals and that there is no legitimate reason to consume or expose ourselves bodily to such substances. This knowledge is reinforced each time we find ourselves energized by sweet, fresh air and warm sunlight or awed by the majesty of Mother Nature's beauty. We feel the strength of our connection to nature when fresh food that is close to the earth sustains us more effectively than artificial supplements and when the pleasures of exercise outweigh the pains of exertion. The human body has been blessed with the same physical intuitiveness that all nonhuman living beings employ instinctively. But because our lives are no longer bound up in nature's rhythms, we must actively seek to reconnect with this formerly innate skill. The process of rediscovering our place in the natural world can be exciting and inspiring, since nothing more is required of us than to delight in nature's wonders, to derive nourishment from natural foods, and to drink deeply of all the wisdom that plants and animals have to share. Your own naturalness will reveal itself to you when you look beyond your beliefs, your lifestyle choices, and the attitudes you hold. When these constructs are stripped away, you will see a body and mind that never gave up its relationship to the essence of the natural world from which consciousness sprang. Text from Daily Om
Our bodies are living, breathing expressions of our consciousness and we may opt to treat it (us) as such. We can leverage gentle moves and breathing, to tap into the powerhouse of our bodies, and live in them (not despite of them).
Striking the right balance between our physical and spiritual aspects is one of the most challenging aspects of existence. We are dual beings by nature, spiritual entities bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. Yet while both aspects of the self are deserving of honor and respect, there is a tendency for people who are more spiritually focused to ignore, avoid, or dismiss their bodies. Similarly, many individuals are entirely ensconced in the carnal realm and pay no attention to the needs of the soul. In both cases, an adjustment is in order.
We are whole only to the degree that we embrace both sides of our beings.
If the soul is the inward manifestation of our consciousness, the body is the living, breathing expression of that consciousness. The physical self provides the home in which the spiritual self takes root and flourishes. Just as we must tend to the seed of the soul to ensure that it grows strong, so, too, must we care for the protective shell that is the body to make certain it is capable of playing its role in our development. Though there will no doubt be times in our lives when we feel more comfortable focusing on the spiritual self or the physical self, denying the fundamental importance of one or the other can lead to ill health, emotional distress, and a sense of incompleteness. Both facets of the human experience play a vital role in our well-being.
The body and the soul are the yin and yang of our current reality. They are, at this point of human evolution, irreparably bound together, and many spiritual teachers agree that the body is one of the greatest vehicles through which to access the soul. In fact, many believe that our spirit has chosen to be embodied as an essential part of our spiritual development.
It is each of us responsibility (and honor!) to forge a marriage between the two, so that these diverse and distinct aspects bring out the best in each other, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and enjoyable whole.
Based on text by Madisyn Taylor.
a fine cord of flax, cotton, or other fibrous material spun out to considerable length, especially when composed of two or more filaments twisted together.
- twisted filaments or fibers of any kind used for sewing.
- one of the lengths of yarn forming the warp or weft of a woven fabric.
- to thread one’s way, as through a passage or between obstacles
- to move in a threadlike course; wind or twine.
Is it that something is missing or that something is not flowing properly?
I’ve lately realized that more that looking for something I lack, the journey is to open the channels to allow energy to flow in and out, up and down, connecting different layers within myself and around me.
It surprised me to learn that physiologically it’s not that “we breathe”, it’s rather that we just produce a change in pressure in our body that permits the Universe to “breathe us”. Revealing, right?
Instead of muscling through, just produce a small change in the pressure and let the thing, whatever it is, to manifest.
I heard, deeply in my heart, one of my yoga teachers saying that to be able to relax and surrender, our body needs to feel supported.
The guiding principles that apply to the body also apply to the mind.
The body follows the mind, the mind follows the breath, another yoga teacher says.
S/he who masters the breath, masters the world, yoga tradition teaches.
I add that also what happens in the body happens in the mind… and in the organization.
So, s/he who masters the breath, masters her/his organizational journey.
The breath is probably the only thing we can control. The respiratory system is the only in the human body that is autonomous AND conscious. So hardly the one thing we can really influence is our breathing pattern and how much and how long to focus our attention (ergo our mind) on our breath.
I remember a colleague in my former job telling that she loved to scuba dive because she knew she needed to pace and relax her breathing to count with enough oxygen in her tank. Besides, she could clearly listen to herself breathing, and the sound soothed her. Beautifully said!
My two cents today: when things start to spin crazy and I close my grip -in my throat, between my shoulder blades, in my belly- trying to control the uncontrollable- I just turn to my breath and smooth its rough edges. And stay there for a few minutes.
Breathing in, I am Here. Breathing out, I am Now.