What I've Learned So Far From Slowing Down

Aloha! I'm back to the blog after a little blogging hiatus. After a long winter spent hibernating indoors I'm ready to be outside and soak up a little sunshine. Summers are my favorite time of the year over here in Central Oregon. There's so much to do, explore and fun to be had. Keeping my mind from fast forwarding to all the anticipated summer activities is difficult to practice. However, I have been practicing mindfulness which entails focusing our thoughts and gratitude on the present moment. It's so easy to lose ourself in our recollections of the past or wonder about the future. But, what we all have is today. Here and now. Tomorrow is not a guarantee and yesterday has already slipped through our fingers.

As you might have noticed, I am very goal-oriented. I want to achieve so many dreams during my physical time here on earth. There is a constant voice in my head telling me that I should be doing more, helping more people or have already accomplished what I want to accomplish. This past January, I had a bit of a breakdown. I let my fears and insecurities about goals that I had not yet achieved allow me to feel bad about myself. I kept thinking about how "I wasn't good enough. I wasn't doing enough." These were extremely damaging thoughts that I allowed to repeat in my head. I reached out to some of my friends and family members expressing how I was feeling. They kindly talked me down, off the edge I had subjected myself to. 

It was during this time that several of them suggested that I take a few months to simple "be." In my head I thought, "What?!? I have too much that I want to do. Too many things that I need to get done. I can't just relax. I won't be 'good enough' if I'm just taking it easy." But, my health and self-confidence were taking a beating from my constant self-impossed stress. I decided to cut myself some slack and slow down. Way down. Like "lay on the couch after work and just watch House of Cards on Netflix" down. It took about two weeks to stop feeling guilty for my lack of productivity outside of my 8-5 job. Slowing down gave me time to sit with my thoughts and feel.

Wait. I didn't want to feel. I had spent the past six months unraveling a 10-year long relationship. I didn't want to feel those sad feelings that come along with a breakup. By keeping busy and preoccupying my mind with all the goals and projects I wanted to work on, I was avoiding dealing with my emotions of sadness. But, feelings are smart. They find their way to you no matter what barriers you try to block them with. In the dead of winter, I learned that:

"The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost

This quote remained in the forefront of my mind as I chose to allow myself to slow down and feel all the pain, emptiness and sadness that became unavoidable. Because of my "go-getter" tendoncies, I was determined to work my way through the pain. It worked! By slowing down, actually letting myself feel my feelings and reaching out for support when needed, I have been able to work through my grief. I'm not going to say I'm at 100%, but I'm learning how to be on my own and take care of myself.

What slowing down and giving myself permission to just feel my feelings has taught me is more than I can write in a blog post. The lessons that I've been learning  feel like stars within a universe. Each one shining bright on it's own, while simultaneously contributing to a constellation. That's how I view all of these lessons that I've been learning. Each one unique on it's own, but part of themes of lessons. Recently, I have been learning many lessons around self-care and taking responsibility for one's health. If I do not learn to take care of myself and my health, I will not be able to help others take care of themselves and their health. In my heart, I know that I am meant to spread health and happiness to those around me. I owe it to others, you and myself to slow down and learn each and every life lesson that I'm experiencing right now.

So, what will the future bring? I'm not sure. I still have lofty goals and a burning desire to make a positive difference within our world. But my approach has shifted. I'm continuing to give myself time to rest and reflect. I realize that you have to work hard to achieve big things, but the Universe will ultimately collaborate with you and present you with the right opportunities for your journey.

Please remember that you are exactly where you are supposed to be for your journey. Don't compare your path to anyone else's. Just like fingerprints, our journeys and destinies are unique to each of us. Focus on doing what brings you joy. Spend time with people who make you laugh. Dream of places you want to go and make plans to go there. Our lifetime is short, so chose to enjoy your life today instead of wishing for something different.

There you have it! A few of the things I've learned from slowing down over the past few months. It's been a rocky time period, but I'm thankful that I have allowed myself to be vulnerable, open and honest. Namaste.


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