Slow Down, Embrace Richness, Start Again


Snowshoeing in the Winter Wonderland of Leavenworth's Icicle Ridge trail I was reminded powerfully of the gifts of quiet and slow. In the middle of a snow-filled hillside it is tough to be anywhere but in this present moment. Hiking up a hillside in snowshoes with mini-miracles and awe-inspiring views around every bend I was reminded of the value of slowing down. Fresh air, spectacular scenery, health that enables hiking, time with loved ones--life is so good when I create the space to relish the richness in my life. Good things can come from time away. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the craze of "busy-ness" and the "to-do lists" that call to me, and to beat myself up with the things that I am not doing or have not yet achieved. There is always more to be DONE. There are consistently reasons to HURRY along with my doing.   All week I hear the phrases "I should, I have to, I could" and other versions of sentences that include some sort of self-criticism around beliefs about those places where we judge ourselves to be falling short. 

Last week I showed one of my favorite TEDtalks on Happiness , Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work in the MBA class I teach. In the takeaway assignment following this class one of the most common insights is the value of choosing to be happy FIRST. Happiness and/or joy are ways of being and involve the choices that we get to make every day when we slow down enough to make these choices. We get to make choices in the cadence of each work day and on glorious weekends in a Winter Wonderland. It is such a gift to BE fully present and to choose to notice richness!  It is a great day to be in my office doing my work…even when I have a list of things that I want to change…including getting back in the habit of publishing more regularly. 

Reflecting on recent coaching conversations this point was punctuated when a client called out how valuable it was to hear validation of forward progress on habit changes even when she had "fallen out of the new habits" for a while. Being reminded that she could just begin again was all she needed to get back into the habits she was building. The new habits that were changing her daily experience. Sometimes we need to slow down and celebrate the richness of our lives and how the small changes we can make that form new habits can have lasting impact. 

A couple of the most powerful changes I incorporated a number of years ago were beginning my daily Gratitude and Prayer Journal, and ending each day sharing at least three things for which I am grateful with my husband. Slowing down to incorporate these behaviors has helped to re-orient me around all the things that are "right" in my world--even when there are lots of things that may not have been, or are not, completely "right". Brene Brown calls it embracing imperfection. Others talk about "pushing pause" and there are books written on the value of slowness. Science proves the value of getting away from your everyday routines in increased creativity and productivity. I experienced how just a weekend away can re-vitalize.

I slowed down. I listened to a wise woman's "aha" awareness. I am beginning again on this journey of reflecting, writing, AND publishing. Thank you for reading.