Slowing down is one of those things that should come easy. No matter what the situation, it should not be hard to slow down and chill; to be more aware and to take it one step at a time. And yet, I find that it isn’t. Because we live in a time where everything seems to evolve faster and faster and it is easy to feel like we are always in a rush. Maybe you don’t agree, but this has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I haven’t finished one feat, when I am already planning the next one in my mind. There is a part of me that feels so proud to be able to multitask with such ease and that, at the end of the day, measures “success” in direct relationship to the amount or degree of things accomplished; of goals crossed off my list; of tangible little victories. For as long as I can remember, I have been this way. Until I reached a breaking point and I knew something had to change. Because I knew something eventually would give. And most importantly, because I just felt like I was missing out on my own life; like I was missing the big picture.
Do you sympathize? When you are at your busiest, does the thought “slowing down” even cross your mind? Do you secretly sneer at the idea of sitting down to enjoy a decent meal when deadlines are rolling down on you like snow balls in an avalanche? How about taking a stroll through the park? Would you even consider taking 10 minutes to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea? Most times, I wouldn’t have. And even when I could make it happen, it just seemed like a waste of precious time.
If you nodded and agreed with any of the things described above, keep reading; you might find this helpful. If you have never been there and have always known about the importance of taking it slow; and better yet, if you practice this on your daily life, then congratulations! You are amongst the few who understand the quote “we’ll get there faster if we take it slow”.
You see, life is filled with little, medium and big challenges. Of all shapes, colors and sizes. Some are fun, some are not. Some are indispensable, some are not. Some we can get over with ease and some others, not so much. Life sometimes feels like a breeze and others, like a hurricane. How do you react when the going gets tough? How do you function when you are under pressure? And if you are not under pressure, do you always find the self-discipline to keep moving forward? Have you had situations in your life, when you know you could have done something better if you had just taken the time to stop and evaluate your progress every now and then? Do the same life lessons keep showing up? Maybe if you had stopped to look around, you would have seen and understood things that you didn’t see and could not grasp then.
We live in a culture where everything is tailored for the “hustler in a hurry” it seems. Fast food restaurants are tailored to snarf up your lunch in less than 20 minutes. There’s more than enough coffee shops around to make sure we are caffeine-fueled and convenience in every aspect is reaching a point that is almost ridiculous. Very few people take the time to cook a decent meal, to shop for it and to question where the ingredients come from. Traditions are being lost in the name of being “practical” and while we are “better” in a lot of aspects including technology and advancements, it seems we are lacking in other areas.
I come from a culture where the work ethic is parallel to none; I “work like a Mexican”, and I can say that (wink). But I have also learned about the importance of taking it slow, of being aware and of actually living your life, instead of rushing through it.
If you are or have ever been my client, you probably know my philosophy and products and all that I try to promote with them. You may know that the word Azomalli is an Aztec word that means “peace, calm, tranquility”. You may also know that I passionately formulate herbal tea blends that promote well-being and that are sold full leaf, not only because it makes for a better cup of tea, but also because it encourages the “slowing down” effect.
I have had people ask me why I don’t bag my tea. And the answer is this; I want my clients to be able to slow down while they infuse their cup of tea. I want them to be able to see the herbs they are about to consume, to absorb and enjoy the beautiful colors and textures, the amazing aromas and to take an active part in this simple, yet profound ritual. I want to be able to aid in the exercise of taking it one sip at a time.
My dad used to tell us; life is like a long train ride that will take you to many different places. Every now and then, you need to step down and observe where you are, before you can move on to the next station. The train will gain as much speed as you allow it to, and it’s your job to make it slow down every now and then for evaluation, contemplation and enjoyment. That didn’t make much sense to me, until now.
I have come to realize that time doesn’t stand still. And the older I get, the faster it goes. You can’t “save” time; you can either use it and make the best of it, or you can waste it. Because either way, it will not stop for you, or me or anyone. So, we better enjoy it while we have it.
At the end of my life, I want to be able to say that I actually lived it, not that it passed me by. I want to know that I was aware and present for most of it, and that I did take time here and there to step down from the train.
I still catch myself sometimes taking mindless showers while running on autopilot where at the end I have to make an effort to remember if I washed my hair or not; or making plans in my head while trying to listen to my kids tell me about their day; or missing sleep because I had something that just could not wait until the next day. It’s a daily practice to try to slow down when you live in a culture that applauds the “hustler” and “overachiever” and that encourages a lifestyle that is constantly “on the go”. I have finally come to understand why I can actually get anywhere faster if I slow down a bit, and when I catch myself driving like a maniac in the fast lane again, I gently pull myself out, take a deep breath and make myself a cup of tea. Deadlines will still be met, errands will still get done and tasks completed and in a much more calm and efficient way; and I will surely be a happy camper in the middle of all chaos because I took it one sip at a time. Wouldn’t you want the same for you and your peeps?