Think back on your day yesterday. If you were to choose a word to describe its pace, what would it be? Frantic? Rushed? Hectic? A complete blur? (Okay, that is more than one word). Now, think back on your last week. Can you see a theme emerging in how your days are unfolding?
When I am caught up in the busyness or distractedness of life, a lot of shame bubbles up. Why am I not a better .............. (insert any of the following: friend, partner, coach, facilitator, business owner, sister, aunt, community member)? In all of the rush, it can feel like I am not enough, that I am somehow falling short or missing the mark in some or all areas of my life. My concept of self-worth becomes intimately tied to my capacity to do. I must accomplish. I must check things off. I must make progress. If I don’t, I am somehow failing and I deserve everything my inner critic can muster.
Perhaps this all sounds a bit familiar. Maybe you can relate to the feeling of not measuring up to some imagined yardstick that decides, like the Sorting Hat at Hogwart’s, which pile you belong in: worthy or unworthy.
More and more, I am realizing we need to say “enough” to the shame that grows in a culture of busyness. As research professor and author Brene Brown reminds us, “[s]hame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” When we are caught feeling guilty or personally flawed because of our inability to keep up, we are actually paralyzing ourselves from making real and concrete shifts in our lives. As our minds fill with “shoulds” and “musts,” our power drains from us and our bodies become exhausted.
There is another way...
Rather than getting caught up in the cycle of shame and exhaustion, there is another way to tap into a more ease-filled life: by slowing down. When we make the time to slow down and connect with ourselves, something magical happens. We become better able to navigate the demands of day-to-day life and to manage the content and the quality of our thoughts. We over-ride the inner critic and embrace our lives in a mindful way. At a slower pace, we are able to create the space and distance we need to refuel and recalibrate. From this place, we become more able to envision a different, more aligned and more empowered way of being.
Despite the benefits related to being more mindful in our lives, it can often feel counterintuitive to slow down. After all, when we are busy, it can feel like the last thing we should do is take our foot off the gas pedal. People have said to me, “Ah, I wish I had the luxury of slowing down,” or “Slow down? Ha! You must be kidding me!” I get it. It can sound counterintuitive, but slowing down is not necessarily what you think.
Slowing down DOES NOT mean:
- being less effective
- stepping away from your life
- not meeting your commitments
- wearing monk’s robes or retreating to a monastery
Instead, slowing down means regaining control over the one precious life you have been given. It means you get yourself back into the driver’s seat of your life where you decide the pace.
What slowing down DOES mean:
- becoming more effective
- being more present in your own life
- having greater awareness of your current way of being
- feeling more connected to your own wellbeing
- being able to connect more deeply with yourself and others
- relief from the cycle of shame that comes with never feeling like you are enough
- adopting strategies and practices that help you feel rejuvenated
Our lives are paying the toll in this culture of speed. When we intentionally slow down we start to be able to access the world from a place of wellness and connectedness. From this place, everything starts to shift.
Ready to slow down?
I am very excited to offer The Art of Slowing Down Online Course in 2018. I specifically designed this course as a way to support others in their quest to slow down and become more mindful in their day-to-day. The curriculum combines neuroscience research, guided meditations and coaching theory to help you realize a life that feels less stressful and more intentional. This course is about making lasting change in your life, in a way that feels authentic and sustainable.
First session starts January 23rd (A great way to start the new year!) Don’t let our culture of speed to take its toll on your life, register today at www.juliemurray.ca/the-art-of-slowing-down. Early bird prices (on all sessions) until December 31st.