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My thirty-two year-old mare Pepper has been on to something for a long time. It’s taken me much longer to grasp. I’m talking about the benefits of slowing down.
I mean really slowing life down, not just giving it lip service.
My husband and I recently spent eleven days at a quiet little hotel in Mexico. This lovely spot is remote–there’s no club scene, no frantic shopping, no fighting your way through crowds for a good spot on the beach. We had empty beach right outside our door. We were off the grid, the only electricity coming from a generator and solar panels. It was healing balm to this over-scheduled, too-busy, working-into-the-night woman.
It took me at least a couple days to adjust.
No phone. No television. No email. Let me repeat. NO EMAIL.
This “electronic fast” helped me realize just how dependent I am on my computer. The hotel did in fact have wi-fi, but I chose to pretend it didn’t. I wanted the complete experience of slowing down.
For eleven days I had no idea what was going on in the world or with my family. And honestly, it was good. I’ve read many suggestions about every so often going on a “media fast.” Now I understand why it’s important!
Let me report the whole experience was beyond wonderful.
I spent my days reading, napping, walking the beach, and connecting to my husband. The food was delicious and beautiful, the Mayan staff warm and accommodating. We ate dinner at a communal table, talking and laughing with the other guests. And afterward, after a lovely look at the stars, we went back to our rooms and to bed. Without glaringly bright lights, our bodies quickly returned to the rhythm of the sun. We woke with daylight and went to sleep when it was dark.
After just a few days I found myself becoming deeply rested. It was a feeling that radiated through my body. My heart felt open and expansive. I laughed more. Breathed more deeply.
And I felt a sense of calm that was deliciously healing.
It was hard to leave, and yet life here in Colorado waited. We were eager to see family. We wanted to spend time with the Golden Girls, who fared quite nicely while we were away. We had commitments and obligations to return to.
Now the challenge is how to carry with us into this life at least some part of our open-hearted, expansive vacation mentality.
How do we slow down and still be productive?
How do we use the wonderful tools of technology and not become slaves to them?
How do we remember to laugh more and worry less?
All I can tell you is that we are giving it our best shot.
We’re eating more mindfully, turning off all our screens earlier in the evening, going to bed earlier, and laughing more.
Seems like a good start!
Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual…
Well, we’ve had the first snow of the season and it is a bold reminder that winter is at the door.
We blanketed the Two Old Sweeties and they seem grateful for the protection and warmth.
In winter, the pasture slows down. Horses are focused on finding food and staying warm. They instinctually follow the call of the season.
Winter is a time of hibernation.
Of allowing the field to lay fallow.
A time of resting.
With the first snow I often re-read this lovely quote by Thomas Merton, that I’ve taped close to my computer.
I want the visual reminder that less can be more.
I want to remember to slow down and allow my body and mind to rest.
To have time to re-group, re-fuel, and regenerate.
I want to remember that I don’t have to be “on” twenty-four/seven. When you work for yourself, that one can be a challenge. There is always something else to do.
My goal for the winter: A little less doing and a little more being.
What about you? Are you willing to let yourself rest?