This post has been a long time coming. Since I graduated from yoga teacher training I've been reading more and more about basically doing less and it meaning more. A big epiphany hit me about a year and a half ago when I was attending a restorative yoga teacher training. We had discussions about the science behind relaxing the body and what it does to our physical and mental states. Legitimately you can increase your sex drive and loose weight just by relaxing!
I've got your attention now don't I?
Of course it's not as simple as just relaxing once and miraculously you loose 5lbs or want to jump on your partner, but allowing the body to come out of it's high stressed out state and turn off the "mama bear on attack" hormones let's our bodies restore. Come back to a place of resting, digesting our food and pleasure. If you want more info about these things I highly recommend you read/learn basically anything from Michele Theoret from Empowered Yoga.
Since this training I have been on a mission to help share self care. Taking care of yourself actually and truly is not a luxury. Taking care of yourself is bringing you into the "restore" mode. A time for your body to recharge of course, but if you followed along on my Self Care Sunday blog posts for a while, a theme I often had was that you put your phone away. Rest your mind. Because as I said in the Simple Bath post, are you really feeling relaxed in the bathtub as you scroll Facebook? (Especially when that one irritating friend is on a status update rampage).
I say something in my yoga classes all the time too. After we put in some work and some stretching I like to almost always end in a lying twist of some sort where I cue "and move your arms and legs in any way that is comfortable and relax the muscles". Like really relax the body physically. Basically no effort given. Because we are super amazing at multi tasking and doing all the things and being busy, but we SUCK at relaxing and slowing down.
I wont even exclude myself from this. I am totally a hyopcrite a bit here. I am the master of doing all the things and so busy I sometimes feel as if I have missed days or weeks in time. I'm working on it. And that's exactly it. We don't have to be perfect at it or rigidly follow a schedule. We just have to be mindful. Mindful that we have made ourselves so busy that we aren't even relaxing.
I am a week and a half post surgery and have basically been home most of the time. I thought I would be going crazy from boredom, but in reality? I've slowed down enough to enjoy things. I've slowed down enough to enjoy the moment of laughter with my kids. I've slowed down enough to evaluate the things I do that make me so busy.
Sit for a moment. Think about everything that has lead you up to this moment today. All your errands or tasks. Pick out the moments that have you brought you joy. Not something you are "working on" in order to get you to joy. By this I mean, you worked an extra couple hours so you could make more money to buy more things that bring you joy. Not that. That's a false idea of joy I think. What had happened in your day where you felt true joy?
THAT is the art of slowing down. Finding those smaller moments of joy sprinkled throughout your day. Isn't that what we are after anyways? Feeling good. Feeling the joy?
I recently read the book "Mindfulness" by Gil Hasson where it talks about of course we need goals. Things we are working toward are not bad things at all. Gil says "But for longer term goals, the emphasis is not on where you will arrive at, it's on what happens and what you experience along the way. The emphasis is more on the experience rather than the result."
Lightbulb! Slowing down, taking note of whats happening in the current moment IS the joy.
I work to make money. I make money to pay bills and buy things. I buy things I enjoy. I enjoy these things because they bring me joy. Brief joy or maybe it's prolonged, but none the less seeking joy. But what if in the process or working, making money and buying we are miserable? WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT?!?!?
Slow down, evaluate and be mindful of what we are doing and if it's filling the "doing" side of the column or the "enjoying".
Again, I'm a hyopcrite a bit here and great at being buys, but about to go back into my regular schedule after time off for my surgery, I'm taking a really good look at what the hell it is I am adding back in. Is this important to me? Does it bring me joy?
Easier said then done I feel, hence the word "art". The ART of slowing down.
Jen The Bitchin' Housewife