Live slow enough and there is only the beginning of time.
Follow anything in its act of being – a snowflake falling, ice melting, a loved one waking – and we are ushered into the ongoing moment of the beginning, the quiet instant from which each breath starts. What makes this moment so crucial is that it continually releases the freshness of living. The key to finding this moment and all its freshness, again and again, is in slowing down.
Often, when we are inconvenienced, we are being asked to slow down. When we are delayed in our travel or waiting for a check in a restaurant, we are being asked to open up and look around. When we find ourselves stalled in our very serious and ambitious plans, we are often being asked to re-find the beginning of time. Unfortunately, many, it could be you, are so high-paced, running so fast to where we want to be, that many of us are forced to slow down through illness or breakage. In this, we are such funny creatures. If we could see ourselves from far enough away, we would seem like a colony of insects running into things repeatedly: thousands of little determined beings butting into obstacles, shaking our little heads and bodies, and running into things again.
Like the Earth that carries us, the ground of our being moves so slowly we take it for granted. But if you should feel stalled, numb, or exhausted from the trials of your life, simply slow your thoughts to the pace of cracks widening, slow your heart to the pace of the earth soaking up rain, and wait for the freshness of the beginning to greet you.
~ Mark Nepo
I do not recall where and when I came across this insight. But I do remember that when I was reading it, I realized that I have slowed down considerably since our second year living on our sailboat, Dharma Girl. There is something to be said about living close to nature. Whether living on land among the trees or on the water, one cannot ignore how the closeness of nature affects your being. Unconsciously or consciously, your quality of life, your deep soul, transforms to a quieter self. You find you are calmer. You react less. Observe more. With a little self-reflection, you will notice. And noticing, even the small shifts, will lead to greater shifts to a self you begin to recognize as a preference. A space in your soul, you know is where you want to be, so you look for more of what is bringing you ‘here’, ’there’.
These are the activities I have recognized over the past four years that bring me to a quieter place of being. Any sailing, sitting quietly at anchor, walking on hikes and stopping to look at the small objects, stopping to take photos of floral and fauna, observing sunsets and sunrises, and snorkeling, paddle boarding around edges of coves, meditating, and yoga on the foredeck, and floating in the water to name a few.
You may have recognized that you would like to slow down, even by a few breaths, a few moments, even a day. I invite you to stop now and think of two activities that will slow you down. Pick one and do it as soon as you can today. I trust, when you look closely, you will notice even a small shift in your being.
Enjoy your journey.