How to slow down time.
I doubt there aren’t too many of us wondering where the heck the last year has gone.
Thanksgiving already? Really??
I have my theories about why time feels like it’s speeding up (something I realized years before I ever heard of the FOMO - ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ - phenomenon).
Whatever the cause, it leaves a lot of us with a sense of never being quite caught up, content, fulfilled, complete.
As least, that’s how I’ve been feeling in recent years.
But, I’ve been learning to narrow the scope of what’s possible.
Which maybe sounds like a really negative and certainly countercultural way of saying, “I can only so do much in my limited human time span,” but I believe few would argue with.
I’ve written about this before, about how the near-omniscience that our technology can deliver insidiously implies how many things and experiences - even virtually - are available to us, making the ‘to-do’ (and the, therefore, ‘undone’) list way too long … and without our consciously questioning of whether that is even possible, we underestimate what kind of impact this may be having on our feelings of stress, anxiety, and inadequacy.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we can.
Take my email (please! haha… ) as an example.
I’ve been exasperated recently by the tyranny of my own email inbox. It’s not even real stuff! Just bits of data, but all attached to an agreement I made to allow it in.
Too many hours embarrassingly managing and culling it all, and the conflicted emotions around the obligations I feel to read, respond, or procrastinate on, as if I’m being rude (or, will miss some key piece of life-changing wisdom! God forbid!) by deleting or unsubscribing, have left me feeling depleted and depressed.
Sad. I know.
Because I know this is no way to spend a life. A life that is way too short as it is.
The older I get, the fewer and deeper the relationships I yearn to cultivate and engage with.
For an introvert like myself, I need a lot of time to warm up and process, whether it's a conversation, or a longer relationship, or a concept. The more to-do’s I have on my list, whether on paper or in my head, the less time I feel like I have to do that loving work.
And yet, maybe I fill that space intentionally.
I recently read an article (yes, there are still SOME redeeming qualities to email for me) by Danielle LaPorte, entitled “The beautiful terror of going slower”.
“My pace of work (that’s pretty-speak for workaholism), has been a speed-skate over the dark patches of my self: my fear, my wounds, and my tremulous self worth. Which is to say, I’ve been working my ass off to avoid much of my humanity. Seems to be a universal part of our condition.”
And it reminded me of a key point I keep making when teaching qigong or restorative exercise - that part of the practice - a really hard part of the practice - is slowing down enough to feel where your limitations are, where the work comes in.
More often, and definitely more as we age, as we are literally moving through life, we are rely increasingly on momentum to propel us.
Momentum can take over where our own physical strength is lacking, hides the fact that even IS lacking - which is fine to a point, until we lose even the ability to generate that momentum.
Two points being expressed here, but in the same vein:
Freeing up space does mean being able to to slow down and enjoy what’s here. Slow down time, even.
Yet, freeing up space means saying no to stuff. It means loss. It means admitting our limitations and the fact there are some things we may never get to do in life.
Enjoying what’s left, what’s here, what’s right in front of us, means getting intimate. Curious. Learning more - about an other, or ourselves - than we might initially feel comfortable with, but where growth and true actualization can happen.
There is peace to be found in embracing the container of our mortality.
If spaciousness and depth and slowing down in order to feel your life more fully are important to you, what are some things you can move off your plate, out of your mental bandwidth? What are you are afraid of missing out on or offending if you culled them from your life?
Even though I think about this topic a lot, it seems appropriate to get clear on this as we enter into the holiday season (of buy! buy! buy!) and begin a fresh new year with fresh new intentions of good, old slow-moving hours of spaciousness.