Thursday, December 6, 2018

Slowing Time

"We don't need nothing but today"

I've thought about this line from a favorite (Mac Miller) song so much lately. It swims into my psyche almost daily: driving, walking the frost bitten loop, barely opening my eyes to the day. It's the simplest of sentiments but it's been working surprisingly well for me as a mind-check mantra.

I'm kind of obsessed with time. Aren't you?....Or are you one of those lucky monsters who never gets caught in a loop thinking about the time they have left in a day, the impending doom of shortening space? For me, modern adult living feels like a full-time job with zero seconds to waste. In a world where basic to-do's like work, laundry, and transportation consume every moment, we face a nagging quandary of how to maximize our limited hours and overall impermanence. More trips! More destinations, goals, possessions, notoriety, success. What could make this slog better, bearable, more meaningful?

So much of what we humans do while trying our best to be our best actually robs us of the incredibly precious time we have to simply exist; encompass the human experience. Ugh, the insufferable amount of time wasted! Anxiety, fear, indecision, comparison, planning... 

In revolt of these potential regrets, it's become my prime focus this year to cultivate a practice of slowing time. 

Here's what that looks like for me:

Pool of the Winds
1.     Awareness
Awareness slowwwws time. So does practicing a pause. I try to pause and revel in moments where I feel indisputably good or peaceful. Awareness develops a benevolent wonder that infuses hours with significantly deeper meaning. Practicing the pause is also super beneficial in times of stress and judgement. Pause. Does this even matter? Should I waste more time on this feeling/thought/insecurity, or move on? Literally, move on. Walk it off, leave it in the shadow where it belongs.

2.     Going inward
I'm so obsessed with tapping into the voice of my soul, my intuition. I demand bravery. Be brave in asking for what you want from your day (each day) and in actually embodying these inherent drives. Be honest with yourself. BREATHE.

I love to go inward by spending a minimum of 30 minutes at the start or end of my day creating, rather than enjoying other people’s creations. We live in a word overflowing with captivating TV shows,  fascinating podcasts, and constant newness. Slowing time is about breaking habituation though, in search of dynamic and inspired moments that linger with magic. We can't just hijack everyone else's creative breakthroughs. We need to seek our own. 

3.     Saying YES and NO with authenticity
It takes so much courage to own and direct your time! The more I come to terms with the limited nature of my days on this planet, the more fiercely unapologetic I am with my Yes and No. Don't give your time away without serious thought. It's your greatest gift to give. Don’t say yes when you’re already dreading the follow up. Don’t say no out of shame when your heart is silently crying yes.

4.     Leaning into chance
I plan my free time (i.e. ANY time outside of work and sleep) less rigorously, and less far in advance. I'm sooo into making plans the day of or day before, rather than constantly committing a week in advance when I have no clue how I'll feel. Leave room for chance to open doors. It requires breathing room to thrive. Serendipity begets synchronicity.

5.     Identifying treasures hiding in plain sight
It's way too easy to ignore the small and seemingly mundane things that give our waking hours context and depth. For me, these are things like: the Califia cold brew I drink just about every morning, the way my dog climbs under the covers part way through the night, a new podcast episode to listen to just in time for a long drive, my landlord walking packages over to my front door, a random compliment from a stranger, the smell of a used bookstore, or of rain on cement. Without this collection of seemingly tiny, minute sources of happiness, my life would have no spaciousness or texture-two vital ingredients for elongating time.

It's no surprise that I also believe outdoor adventure can make our precious time on Earth extra ripe and robust. Especially when you're outside thriving with someone you love. Our time is ours to give and spend, and the most sincere indication of what/who we treasure. The seconds we disperse are gone forever once we spend them. We don't need nothing but today, if we expand today as wide as the sea.

"Empty open, choice-less as the beach. Waiting for a gift from the sea."  
- Anne Lindbergh

~Photos from Hamilton Mountain~

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