Ahhhh! It’s summertime. This is the time to vacation. I do not teach classes during the summer. Although I will be preparing for courses in September, I won’t be starting this for a while. This is the time to slow it down. S l o w i t d o w n.
Naturally, I’m already on a slower speed than the rest of the world. In truth, this annoys people who know me very well. I have a tendency to get lost in the moments. I putter, think, wait, watch, listen, contemplate, and daydream, a lot. You remember, the kid the teacher always told to stop daydreaming. As a student, I preferred to sit next to the classroom window. Frequently, I gazed outward, wondering, thinking, pondering, and then alerted to stop daydreaming. I wasn’t daydreaming, I was creating!
Pink Floyd The Wall, “Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
At the beginning of my creative writing classes, I tell my students to make a solid effort to slow down their activities. Walk slower, eat slower, listen more intently, think before speaking, choose your words with thought, and breathe deeply. The purpose in doing this is to be more aware of yourself and everything around you. Perhaps the new word to describe this is ‘mindful’.
When you slow it down, you give yourself an opportunity to absorb stimulus that would otherwise be too quick to capture.
I was reminded of this when I was exercising. I got onto the floor to do stomach crunches. My goal was to go through 3 sets of 50-100 fast, intense, crunches as quickly as possible. In my head I said, On your mark, get set, go…crunch!
I succeeded in getting those fast, intense crunches done and I felt my abdominals exercised. I repeated this exercise a couple more times to really work those abs.
A few days later, I mentioned this exercise to my dear yogi friend Dorit. She suggested I do yogi crunches instead. As she described, “A yogi crunch is an abdominal exercise same as a stomach crunch; however, it’s done a lot slower, a lot slower!
The next time I did abdominal crunches, I did yogi crunches instead. I didn’t think I would get the same work out result. I was very wrong! A few things happened when I slowed it down. Firstly, my neck felt less stress. Secondly, my abdominals felt more worked out and thirdly, I was able to hear the birds singing in the tree next to my window. I had become more mindful!
By slowing down, I was able to focus better on my exercise and the surrounding environment. I actually felt inspired! The birds were singing and I was exercising. It was a lovely combination.
Eating slower is also beneficial to try. This provides you with a real opportunity to taste the foods you’re eating. You can focus on the textures, the smells, the taste, and the sounds. Truthfully, the only way to engage your senses when eating is to slow the process down. I’m sure eating slower benefits the digestion and absorption of the foods too.
I realize you can’t do this when eating ice cream, but you can still swirl the flavours around your mouth to really enhance the eating experience.
Ohhhhh, ice cream in the summertime is such a delight! I will reserve this topic for another article. I can’t say enough about ice cream in the summer, or any other time of year. Every day is a great day to eat ice cream…
Taking a stroll is such a pleasant activity to do. After I go for a run, I leave myself a long distance to stroll. I walk slowly, sort of swinging my arms and letting my body recover. It’s a catch up with your breath kind of walk, a take in the moments thinking walk, a time to recapture and plan ideas kind of walk. This is not a runner’s high. This is a runner’s meditation me moment. A v e r y s l o w p a c e d w a l k .
You might be feeling a little sleepy from all this slow motion talk. I suppose this is the purpose of this article. Take this slowed down relaxed feeling, harness it and apply it to a mindful escape. Now… walk slower or eat slower or daydream, ponder, putter with purpose of engaging your senses slower.
Y o u m i g h t e n j o y t h e m o m e n t.
—Suzanne Reisler Litwin