The Magic of Doing Things Slowly
Life moves fast and so does our minds, our bodies, and everything around us. New products are created to make life more simple and “fast acting”. TV programs show us how to get that killer body or create that perfect room in our house in just under a few hours or days.
It is a fast paced world we live in. The days of no TV, no video games, no computers, etc. are long behind us. Life buzzes around us at an astonishing pace and we try to jam pack everything we can into our days and lives.
But the question we have to ask is…
Where does moving through life so fast actually get us?
Is there a special place in life we are trying to get to? If so, what happens if we do get there?
Many of us believe that if we DO reach that point or ultimate goal, things will finally be calm and happy in our lives. We think that life will be pretty much perfect at that point. But will it? The reality is…it won’t. The truth of the matter is there will always be more things to acquire, more “stuff” to get done, more goals to achieve, more obstacles to overcome, etc. There is no end.
So all of this got me to thinking about life. It made me realize, that being mindful and being fully present are the keys to unlocking happiness. But not only that, in many things we do…if we SLOW things down, we can enjoy them much much more and life will become so much more meaningful. Life will explode with more beauty and magic, if we just let it.
Life will simply become much more alive to us if we do many things much more slowly. A certain kind of magic will be revealed from doing things slowly and mixing that with pure awareness and mindfulness.
What we simply need to do is release this magic in our everyday life. We need to slow down, be aware, and pay attention to what is in front of us. So how do we do this? It really is pretty simple. First, we become fully present in whatever we are doing. Doing this will bring to life…our life. Secondly, we need to slow things down a bit and not rush through things. When we slow things down, we become more mindful, naturally, and this leads to increased awareness. When we do both, mindfulness and slowing things down, the magic of living truly reveals itself around us.
Here are a few things you can do slowly to unlock this special magic in everyday life…
Food. We all love it and we all need it. But many of us simply throw down what is in front of us like a ravaging carnivore. We don’t eat, we inhale! What if you slowed things down a bit and actually FULLY tasted your food? I know, crazy, huh? Give this a try next time you are having lunch. Turn off the TV, and eat slowly. Become aware of the sensations in your mouth…it may surprise you. Buy a chocolate bar or a pint of ice cream, for starters, and find out how amazing it can be when you fully taste it, feel the texture in your mouth, etc.
- Deep Breathing
Just like food, breathing is just as essential to our ability to live. But many of us simply take breathing for granted, and when we become stressed and tense, we don’t breathe enough or we do it very rapidly. What we need to do is make a point to fully breathe…and do it slowly. Breathing slow does all kinds of wonderful things to us. It calms the nervous system, it releases stress, and it also makes us become mindful of being fully alive. I think many of us have forgotten how that feels.
- Lifting Weights
If you are into lifting weights, you are probably like most…you lift weights as fast as you can. You hurry through repetitions and move on to the next exercise. But watch what happens when you do your repetitions slowly, and with proper form. Not only will you feel the weight MUCH more, your body will resist it more thus creating more tone and strength. It works. Try it.
- Building a Business That Lasts
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a quote you probably have heard and it is true. So why try to build a business in a hurry? The trick is to do it slow and steady, and most of all, do it correctly with proper planning and guidance. If you do it quickly, it will most likely fail. Create a strong foundation, and you will create something that will most likely last while your competitors fail. Don’t forget about creating personal relationships with your customers too, it will pay dividends down the road.
Sure, some things are best when cooked quickly, like a huge bowl of stir fried veggies or scrambled eggs…but there are many types of foods that are best when cooked slowly. Crock pot cooking is a good example of this, and so is down home, finger lickin’ slow cooked BBQ ribs. The real magic is the taste and smell one can enjoy when it is all said and done. Chili and a hearty stew are also fine examples.
So you think that you have to be a whiz kid on Wall Street to make a killing in the market? Or you may even think you have to invest a lot of money, at the right time, and quickly to make huge gains. I can tell you, the majority of winners in the stock market take it slow and steady and rely on the magic of compound interest. You can still retire rich, and you don’t have to be an expert…you just have to start and put your money in slowly over time the right way.
- Having a Real Conversation
I bet there has been a few times when you talked with a friend or loved one for hours on end, with no agenda and no time frame. Remember how amazing it felt to connect? Now with things such as cell phones and texting, we have lost the simple art of slow and personal conversations. Why not strike up a conversation and truly be present with that person and see where it goes, without any time limit? Watch the magic unfold.
- Drinking a Hot Beverage
In the heart of winter I think sitting down, in complete silence and having a warm cup of coffee or tea can not be beat. There is real comfort and peace that comes from it. But of course, it can not be rushed because for one, you will burn your mouth…and two, you will simply lose the full magic of the moment to become aware and reconnect with your senses as the warm fluid invigorates your body.
- Reading a Great Book
Now I’m not a fiction reader, but I do know that I love a great book. I find the best way to fully enjoy a book is to read it slowly, just a little each day, savoring each word or bit of information that is being passed on to my curious mind. For me, reading before bed can be a great pleasure and nothing but pure joy. Check out a book on something you would enjoy, and give yourself a good month or two to go through it slowly. Watch how much of it you will absorb.
- Giving a Simple Massage
Next time your mate or spouse is having a rough day, give them a slow and deep massage. You don’t even have to break out massage oils or anything. Simply rub there shoulders, but do it slowly with deep squeezes. Watch how they will melt in your hands, and in turn, treat you with greater respect and love. In many cases, you will probably get one in return!
- Push Ups and Abdominal “Crunches”
Don’t have time to hit the gym or just too lazy to get in your car and go? Why not try doing push ups everyday. I find it the perfect exercise for strength, and it is dead simple to do. But the key is to do it sloooow. Really take your time in doing push ups and you will tone up and tighten up in no time. If you feel really adventurous, why not take the 100 PushUp Challenge. The very same method can be done for tightening and toning your abs with crunches. Just do them slowly as well, and results will quickly follow.
Something that I need to do more and I HIGHLY recommend for others to do is meditate daily. It’s amazing the type of happiness and contentment that can arise within us when we slow down, take a time out from life, and simply sit…peacefully. No need to rush the process. No need to rush or expect enlightenment to happen. The goal is to do, nothing. And nothing is good. Here are 100 reasons why you should start.
There are so many elements of romance that are best when taken slowly. It can start from day one when you are first courting a possible mate (don’t go too fast, or they will flee), to kissing, all the way to making love. Doing all these things slowly will turn romance from a few light sparks into a full out light show.
- Creating Art or Writing
I believe the best art and the best writing is created when it is taken slowly and well developed. The more depth it has, the more interesting it can be. Now I know this may not be the case for others, but for me, when I read or see something in art that is has something new “pop out” each time I look at it…I find that magical. Why not create something and really put your heart and soul into it. Even if it takes 5 years to create, just imagine how powerful it will be when it is completed!
- Talking to God
I know this one is a personal preference, but I find that talking to God like he is my best friend is the best. Conversations can be about ANYTHING and for any length of time. God has no stopwatch or time limit…God IS time. He has all day, and all eternity. Talk to him, and discover yourself through him.
As you can see, there are many things in life one can do slowly to unveil the real magic underneath it. The KEY is mindfulness and being fully aware.
Get out of your head and into your experience.
What do you do slowly that YOU enjoy?
Posted on August 11, 2009