This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Thanks for reading!
By the way, I am now offering self-care coaching. I have a website which is still under development (but I launched it anyway), so if you visit, pardon the mess! It still needs a lot of work, so I anticipate it being several weeks before it looks moderately solid. On the site you can purchase coaching sessions. It is at http://www.mkirbymoore.com You can also click on the link at the top of the list to the right.
In this post, practicing self care by consciously taking the time to notice what our pace of life actually is. Show of hands: Who works at a fast paced job? I kind of expect most of my few readers’ hands to go up, and just to let you know, my hand would have to go up in answer to that. With that in mind, what is the pace of your life outside of work?
If we have never taken the time to slow down, whether through spending time in nature, gardening, meditating, volunteering with animals or children (this might not seem like going slow, but our egos are forced to slow down to meet these beings where they are), receiving process-oriented bodywork, doing yoga, etc etc… then how could we possibly expect to work at a fast paced job and somehow lead a peaceful, serene life at home? To steal a line from the movie The Princess Bride: “Inconceivable!”
So if you are reading this… yes, you knew this was coming… pause. Right now. Take a deep breath. Notice your body, take another breath. notice your posture, take another pause, are you hydrated or not? All of this takes time and effort and awareness. So just noticing is the beginning of excellent self-care! Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done! And if just this is making your head swim or giving you a funny sensation in your head (like a potential head ache) or something else unusual is happening, then it is a time for a nap. Come back and read the rest of this post later. If after practicing these little suggestions, your head is still clear, then please continue reading.
What are some ways that we can slow down, even if our jobs are demanding and stressful? Well, first, we must make time to do so. Okay, so our jobs are a drag. Well, what are going to do about it? It is what it is. I love how the I Ching tells me that I have two choices when I encounter natural, unavoidable phenomena – I can either sit there, moaning and groaning; or I can put on the music and dance in spite of everything. What do I want to cultivate within myself?
If we have any free time at all, or maybe just five minutes after we get home from whatever stressful activities we are “forced” to partake in, then take a few minutes to take stock of your life. Where are we distracted easily? Where are we really mindful, if at all? Where are we rushing around at a frenetic pace? Where are we numbing out, avoiding all of the above?
If we feel comfortable at home, maybe just this once, we can delay turning on the TV or computer (Facebook is mighty appealing sometimes!), and instead, we can contemplate our day, and contemplate our pace throughout that day. Where could we easily slow down? Where do we need to slow down? No judgment here! Be gentle. Be kind. Simply notice.
Just this noticing will start to create a shift. Just by noticing our breath, we will start to move toward states of relaxed awareness. So if we work at a hectic job, or have to spend time with people who really stress us out, then where is our sanctuary? Where do we really feel comfortable to let go and just relax? If nothing comes to mind, how can we create this space?
In the very least, perhaps we can take three or five minutes after getting home from work and just sit down. Don’t do much else besides consciously slowing down. Maybe brew some relaxing tea (probably non-caffeinated herbal tea would fit this description) or drink some delicious, pure water. I’m not saying you need to meditate. I’m not suggesting that you do anything at all really besides contemplate the pace of life. And then decide what, if anything, needs to change. And try to be as gentle as possible.
If you are like me and your mind desires distractions and wants to move at a fast pace all the time, then make the choice of the more calming, the more relaxing of two options. For instance, do I read an informative magazine or check my email (for the 8th time that day)? Should I watch this soccer game or read the Wall Street Journal? Do I watch TV or go for a walk on a nice nature trail? Do I eat one Twinkie or three? 🙂
We have to start somewhere. And it might as well be with ourselves. But above all else, please remember to go slow, to be as gentle as possible with yourself without beating yourself up and to recognize that changing any kind of habit at all takes lots of time.
I hope you have enjoyed this post.