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Surrendering to Stillness: The Power of Slowing Down



A few friends have mentioned to me recently that they have felt called to slow down this winter, taking plenty of time for rest, hibernation, and slow, quiet days. I have to say I echo the sentiment. While this may feel like a waste of precious time, I firmly believe that there is incredible power in giving ourselves full permission to rest and do less. This is nature’s natural pace at this time of year, and our bodies may want nothing more than to honour this seasonal shift of energy. A time for resting and dreaming. Turning inward.


For those of you who meditate or have some other practice that allows space for reflection and self-study, you know the power of creating space for stillness in your life. If we are always busy, distracted, and filling our senses with external stimulation, when do we ever get to feel our inner world and know ourselves? How many of us stop to check in and ask: Is this what I need right now?

 

When I have a busy week with work or otherwise, I tend to lose sight of my needs. The practices, activities, people and places that bring me joy and make life feel fulfilling. This can go on for weeks, and with every day that passes where I don’t create space for connection to myself through a centering practice, I eventually start to feel unwell and completely disconnected from myself and my path in life. I sense, with our modern pace of life, the hours we work, and all our commitments and responsibilities, that this state of disconnection can be a regular baseline for many of us.



When I get to this place of disconnection I am very aware of it. Not enough time on my yoga mat, at home creating healthy meals, and not enough time reflecting and integrating the experience of life. I feel it, and I know I have drifted. Drifted from my authenticity, living with purpose, making day-to-day decisions that support my dreams and the life I want to live. It creeps up slowly, and for me, it’s usually through compounded days, weeks, or months of overcommitment. Saying yes, when really I knew I should have said no. A busy schedule that doesn’t leave me with enough regular down time. Life feeling like a runaway train.

 

How do you know what your dreams are if you don’t make space to hear them? How do you know they’re your dreams, from your inner authentic being and not someone else’s expectations for your life?


Disconnect from everything long enough to see

if it feeds your soul or if it’s a distraction.

What’s deeply connected will always remain.


-Maryam Hasnaa

 

There is power in slowing down. Slowing down creates space: gaps in our schedule. It gives us time back to return home to ourselves and get clear on our dreams. On what kind of life we want to live, want to build. Who you want to be.

 

So…as much as you can this winter, I invite you to clear your schedule, reduce or cancel as many commitments as you can. Simplify your life. Lose anything that acts as a distraction or numbing and allow space for you to be in your own company. Just as you are. Take the time to cook yourself healthy, nourishing meals. Take naps, go to bed early, do everything you can to get good quality sleep. It may take days to decompress from life’s regular pace. It can take me weeks. But for the remainder of this winter, I invite you to mirror the energy of the season and harness the power of slowing down.



A second invitation is to add back into your free time, only what truly matters for you. I like to add back in the practices that keep me grounded, present and in close observation of my thoughts, breath and emotions: time immersed in nature, slow mindful exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, playing an instrument, creative projects, dance etc. Not sure what this might be for you? Ask yourself: if all my obligations were removed from my life and I had nothing to do tomorrow, what would I add back into my day?

 

By slowing down and doing less, we are actually doing a lot more internal work. We are cultivating a strong connection to our intuition, learning to sit with uncomfortable emotions, forging creativity out of boredom, and creating space to hear and understand our innermost world.

 

Clear space and add in mindful practices that allow for self-study (Svādhyāya, a Niyama or principle of yoga practice). Get out of your busy brain, and your daily to-do list, be with your body, breath and feelings, and observe. Observe what might arise from within you. Witness your reactions, thoughts, feelings, and your breathing with curiosity. Allow whatever surfaces to be, and don’t judge or become attached. You might be surprised by what you feel and learn about yourself.

 

Surrender to the stillness of Winter.


Winter sunset, Long Beach Tofino, BC.

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