Escape the Christmas stress by developing the mindful habit of “wait a little”. When we take time to slow down it not only improves our well-being it can also make life more enjoyable for those who are with us. The fifth blog of this CHRISTMAS series by Val Mullally.
S is for Slow Down
When I think back to my childhood in the Africa “bush” so many images come to mind. The huge red sun dipping slowly over the horizon in the evening, swimming in the river with fish nibbling your legs, raucous birdlife of amazing colours, moths and spiders as large as saucers, dry dusty soil – and thorns.
Thorns of all shapes and sizes, each inflicting its own type of pain. People who haven’t lived in that climate cannot imagine the variety of thorn:
- large, spear-like woody acacia thorns that cause your foot to ache for days after an unfortunate encounter
- the annoying little paper thorns that pepper your bare feet
- the wicked devil’s thorns, like singular wooden marbles with vicious spikes in every direction, making it impossible not to get spiked
- And the “wag-n-bietjie” thorns – “wait a little” because when you are caught by a string of these sharp, curved thorns which hook into your flesh and clothing, you have no choice but to “wait a little” and disentangle yourself.
Wait-a-Little As a Daily Habit
Often it is the unpleasant things like illness or injury that hook into our lives and force us to “wag-n-bietjie”. What if we choose to slow down and notice where we are in life, rather than waiting till circumstances force us to stop.
When we slow down we become mindful – we become more aware of new information, we notice how one thing impacts another and we become more sensitive to the intricacies of situations.
Between stimulus and response there is a space… In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” Stephen R. Covey
Within the bustle of Christmas, let’s create pleasant slow-down moments.
Time to stop for a cuddle. To go for a walk. To watch children playing. To do nothing. To reflect.
Make space for the things that breathe life into your being
Wait a little – in an inner place of quiet stillness.
Each of us needs periods in which our minds can focus inwardly. Daniel J. Siegel
One simple way is to notice your breath. Stop the rushing. Just notice your breathing – in and out. Take time to notice the beauty around you. Open the door of awareness to experiencing awe.
Awe puts on the brakes, and keeps us still and attentive. Hedy Schleifer
The word “awesome” has become an overused superlative that has lost much of its meaning. Awe is not about “cool” – awe is much deeper. It touches our souls. Awe shows up when we slow down.
Why slowing down matters
Slowing down matters for our own well-being and it matters for those who are with us. We become more aware, more attentive, and we take stock of our lives. When we slow down, we open the door to awe.
Only that day dawns to which we are awake. Henry David Thoreau. Walden
Paul Piff says awe makes us nicer and happier: “Awe causes a kind of ‘Be Here Now!’ that seems to dissolve the self, and as a result makes us act more fairly, more generously, more ethically.”
So over to you:
- What helps you to slow down?
- What do you see are the greatest benefits when you slow down?