Slowing Down

Even though the subtitle of my book contains the phrase “Slow  Down ” I have been a terrible example of this wisdom. All those boxes on my calendar look so open and the little words I type in seem possible.

Celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary by spending two weeks in France was wonderful.  It was just what Don and I needed. But when I returned, my calendar looked more like a speeding train then wide-open spaces. I found myself racing from this to that just to keep up with my commitments. Leaving Don to wryly quip, “You have to get your hands on the woman who sets up your schedule.”

Every day someone tells me they have too much to do. They say five or 10 minutes for meditation or silence is out of the question. Even children are now exceedingly busy.  I long for past times like those that Ray Bradbury chronicled in Dandelion Wine. Life had different rhythms all those decades ago.

It is so tempting to say “yes.” Speaking opportunities are energizing and mean selling more books. Workshops are satisfying and allow me to engage with courageous people who love self-discovery.  Parties have delicious food, celebratory glasses of wine, and friends I haven’t seen for awhile who are ready to have fun.

But the wisdom of slowing down in the midst of all of this is inescapable. So I began saying “no” to invitations and crossing things off of my calendar with the determination of  Grant marching through Richmond. Now I have enjoyed three days of quiet. I’ve done some writing, some painting and some sitting in silence. Oh, I also managed to watch a couple of hokey Christmas movies.

My inner monk is quite happy.

Treasured moments of this season are often quiet. First snowfalls are magical.  Falling asleep with our children and grandchildren all tucked in their beds makes me feel like mama Walton. And some of the most tender moments happen within the women’s circles.

Six women sit in a tight circle on the floor. Candles flicker. Wood crackles in the fireplace. Silent anticipation fills the room.  Soon one of us will speak. “I am ready to receive,” she will say.  One by one the rest of us will offer words from our hearts.  All year we have listened.  We’ve heard her desire to live evermore as her true self. We have witnessed her challenges and breakthroughs. Now we reflect on how she’s inspired us.

It is not easy.  It takes slowing down, being attentive to each other and daring to risk honest sharing. Even receiving gifts of awareness is difficult.

Slowing down let’s us discover what we value. If rather than running here and there to buy the perfect gifts we slowed down and simply told an important person the gift they are in our lives imagine the moment your words could create.  And I wonder…

How might that move them?

How might it touch you?