This is a love story about slowing down.
It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about these days. In a world where we are constantly connected, it seems like there’s so much to see, know, read and learn at any given time. We’re moving fast, doing everything at once. Filling our time with more and trying to becoming efficient at the same time — to what end and purpose? Sometimes, I really feel so disconnected from it all.
So, I’ve been reconnecting to something different.
I’m reconnecting to presence. To the joyful experiences in our lives. To gratitude to what we have, not frustration for what we don’t have. To truly seeing what’s around us.
I’m reconnecting to the power of local community. To asking a neighbor for advice. To chatting with the person next to me in line at the grocery store.
I’m reconnecting to the basics. To getting my hands dirty. To making things from scratch. To growing things from scratch.
In a world where we are often told to strive for more, I want to celebrate feeling content. I want to celebrate the moments of presence that fuel my happiness and fill me with joy.
These are some of those moments for me:
Spending an entire evening cooking dinner: chopping vegetables, stirring contents in three pans on the stove, taking time to prepare something amazing to put into my body. Bonus moment: the dance breaks in between cooking steps. Having a morning. Not always rushing off to start working. Cooking breakfast with my husband almost every morning. Meeting a new friend for tea in our neighborhood cafe and not being able to stop the amazing flow of words and ideas and energy between us. Spending a Saturday afternoon playing board games with my family without anywhere else to be. Learning a piece of choreography in a dance class. Being so focused, letting movement and energy flow through my body. Not doing it to perform or work my abs but just to dance, fully for myself, in that one moment. Hovering upside down in a handstand for a few glorious seconds. Inhaling the smells of lavender, calendula and lemongrass while learning how to make homemade salve in an herbalist’s kitchen. Enjoying a day during which I touch every inch of a room while scraping paint, sanding walls and painting a fresh layer of primer with my husband. Being covered in paint splatter. Feeling my muscles ache in the best way when the day is done. Taking a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven and pulling in the warm scent of rosemary. Finally slicing into the loaf and taking the first bite, both chewy and crunchy at the same time. Visiting a neighbor’s beautiful garden and learning all about lily turf and lamb’s ear plants. Seeing the full-grown tree in the park next door that her and her husband planted 25 years ago. Looking out my window (literally in this moment while writing this piece) and spotting two fiery red cardinals hopping from branch to branch. Learning how to boulder, surrounded by the supportive energy of strangers. Reaching the top. Knowing you did that for yourself and no one else. Walking in the woods near my house and stopping to absorb the rare moments when everything around me is silent, even just for a second.
I often think about what I want to achieve in life. What do I want to accomplish in my career? What do I aspire to? What am I striving for?
When I think about all of these moments, I realize that living in this way — slow, mindful, grateful and joyful — is the goal. By filling my time with these moments, I’m living a full life. To me, this is the greatest achievement imaginable.