We’re still waiting for Jay to come, and doing all sorts of preparations, and then … sometimes just waiting. That’s how it is for first time parents, I’m sure.
And tonight I’m tired because of clients and family visits and said preparations, so I found a post I wrote before any of this ‘father-stuff’ was into the picture. Back when I thought I could never become a father, because we had tried all these treatments but apparently we were not meant to have children.
Even in such a state, I had a need to slow down more than often. And that need is not going to diminish when my son is born and I have to get my little one-man business earning more, and all the other worries.
So I think it’s good to do a review of what advice I gave myself a few years back:
Some people decide to dedicate at least 15 min per day to meditation or quiet contemplation. If you are not the metaphysically inclined, then at least find time to talk a walk every day where it is just you and your thoughts about you and your life.
No, it’s not something I clipped from ’10 ways to avoid a midlife crisis’ (although surely you can find variants of this theme in the ocean of listicles on the Internet).
It’s important because a main reason, I believe, that we tend to fret about ’25 years having passed’ or ’30 years’ or whatever is that we ourselves move too fast.
We move too fast through life, trying to juggle career, everyday stuff at the house, kids, spouses, hobbies, and – worst of all – a zillion social media or other passive mind locks.
Here’s how to stop that feeling of being pushed into and through an hour-glass emptying faster and faster:
The very ACT of slowing down, and timing out, will leave us with that place in the movie where the brilliant businessman or the overworked janitor or famous fashionista or dedicated housewife takes a walk along the beach or in the woods and … is present.
…. In their own life.
… Dares to think about it all … good and bad.
Feels it. And maybe … make some changes when coming home. Going up on the hill and scout the horizon of life.
That very ACT of NOT ACTING on everything else that is thrown our way, from bosses’ demands to spouses’ demands to children’s demands to our own bad habits – that act is enough.
It is enough to make us FEEL less frantic. Less anxious about all this life passing us by an we having little or nothing to show for it (or so it feels).
The very ACT of creating such a space for yourself where you can imagine you are at a possible turning point – talking a walk and gaining some new insight as to how to handle and steer your life – that is enough.
It will make you feel calmer. It will make you feel, kind of, that you are watching yourself in that movie, where the janitor or the businessman or the fashionista takes time out to take a walk and think about this:
“Does it all make sense?”
“What have I achieved in life?”
“What do I want to achieve?”
“How do I feel about … ”
“How do I solve … ”
“So here I am, and can’t solve x, y, z – yet.”
The latter thought is especially important.
Part of the exercise in slowing down, and just being, is to de-stress and gain overview.
It is also to gain hope – that there IS a solution to the immediate problems or life, at work or at home, with health or habits.
That there IS something, perhaps, beyond the pain of death and old age and failures …
That there IS … just hope.
You allow that feeling in, by walking in particular – and long enough to calm down and let your thoughts wander. Walk with no particular direction in mind.
Try to take as long time as you need. If not possible, then make an excuse that you have an errand and couple with a real errand, but something that is okay to take time for. But preferably don’t.
Preferably just … walk.
Maybe get up earlier and walk to to work, to the gym or to … somewhere you need to go anyway.
It doesn’t matter that there are no immediate answers that come to mind. They will come.
It is my lived experience, and many others I know of:
Your brain (mind, soul – take your pick) is very powerful.
It is able to come up with solutions, inspirations, new angles, if you don’t cramp.
You cramp if you move too fast, if you are too fearful, if you give in to habits of drugging yourself with bourbon or social media or TV or masturbation when it becomes too much to think about it all.
So it also takes courage to talk that walk. But you will be rewarded. With insight. Hope. I promise.
Just do it regularly. 10 minutes a day. That is all. Try it. Make it a habit.
The reason this simple device works so well is that it is a return to childhood’s feeling of being carefree.
In a sense, at least. (And at least if you lived in a relatively average family in our part of the world. One with trips to the theme parks and birthday parties.)
As children we have – and you have probably heard this before – a different sense of time. It doesn’t move too fast. It moves too slow – especially at Christmas.
Or it doesn’t move at all. We loose track because we become immersed.
We just wander around many times – just watching the world, all the new things we haven’t seen before. We don’t ignore it as routine, as we do as adults.
This leaves our senses open to new ideas. It also leaves our minds open to new ideas.
So we must become like children again, at least in habit, even if it is just 10 minutes a day. Try go exploring on that walk of yours, in a part of the city or country you have not been before.
Notice the different things. Notice it. Notice that there is so much you don’t usually notice.
Then your mind will begin to dare awaken, or your soul if you feel that way about it. It will begin to get out of the stress-mode. The fight or flight mode. The mode that is:
‘Get kids to school, please boss, quality time with wife, take down some upstart who posted shit on my Facebook page … ‘
What? Were you just caught?
Were you just cross-checking Facebook or the news or your bank account thinking about some idiot, scary stuff or worry, whilst skimming back and forth here?
No, really? Were you?
Close the window, look outside the real window, go outside. Walk.
Start your 10 minutes now.
And don’t stop when they have passed.