Slowing down even for a few minutes can change your perspective
I am a speed eater! No, I don’t compete in hot dog eating competitions!
As far as I can remember I was always starving as I got close to meal times and would inhale the food – at a rate of about 10 bites in a couple of mins, then having to drink some water to lubricate the food through my throat ( probably more than you ever wanted to know ) and I would be done before most people around the table would have even had a handful of bites. Of course this came in extremely handy when I had toddlers, especially after a long day at the office and then running off to school for night classes.
I was a mover and a shaker and I certainly had no time to slow down. One of my favorite expressions used to be ‘ Sleep is overrated ‘ and ‘ Time (and tide) wait for no one – attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer’.And then I met my daughter who knew the art of savoring the moment.
As a mom working full-time, I got to spend full-on mom time with my kids on the weekends. When my daughter was young, around 4 or 5 years old, we used to have a mid afternoon snack. Sometimes she gets to have a cookie. Weekends were jam packed with cooking, cleaning, “spouse time”, “me time”,hobby time and church. So snack time can sometimes be a time when I can multitask with other things because I knew my daughter would be fully consumed with her snack. Why am I telling you this?
She had an incredible way of enjoying her one chocolate chip cookie…she would literally take 30 bites of a small cookie. Did she know how to truly savour every bite of the cookie? Did she want to make the moment last as long as possible? Most of us would probably be done in two bites.
Over the last few months I have been learning to incorporate mindfulness in my life and to be present in this moment, and then the next moment and then the next moment. This is quite contrary to how most of our average days are where we are constantly on the treadmill, or multitasking to get as much done. My word for this year, which resonated all through the fall of last year was BE. In order to BE you had to actually STOP – see, feel, breathe, smell, taste. How often do you stop to just BE?
When I first read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living, he talked about really slowing down the eating process as a way of incorporating mindfulness into the everyday busy lives. The first time I tried it was with a bowl of blueberries…to hold it in your hand first and feel how its skin and shape and color feel. Did they evoke any emotion? Before putting it in my mouth I would imagine what it would taste like and then as you bite into its juicy goodness you feel the sweet juice and the tender flesh and the nostrils filled with the smell of ripeness.
This was quite the experience… this simple exercise has opened the door to incorporating being in the present more. Not only does it help me stay engaged, it also reduces the anxiousness of wondering what’s coming next because I am totally captivated in the present moment.
How am I incorporating this into my everyday?
When I have my morning shower I ‘force” my mind to take notice of the water temperature and how it feels as it runs down my body… really take in the smell of the soap and shampoos… this simple exercise has sometimes changed my mood for the day.
I “take a minute to arrive”…. as busy professionals our time tends to be consumed in meetings sometimes back to back. I try, when I can, to arrive a few mins early and just breathe…take in the smell of the room, the surroundings, look out the window…
I encourage you to pause and savor the moment…it could just change your perspective!
How do you savor the everyday moments?
Has the investment of slowing down for a minute or two made a difference in your life?