Around the Campfire: Slow Down

Most of us live our lives at a frenetic pace.  We’re busy.  We know this because we hear it all the time.  “How are you doing?”

“Oh, you know…busy!”

If there’s one thing the last few weeks have taught me, it’s the value of slowing down

During our time on semi-lockdown, my family took frequent walks within the 100 meters around our home.  We were luckier than some: our 100 meters took us through a small wilderness full of wild herbs, flowers, assorted rocks, and bugs.

In our normal life, we take walks twice a day.  And usually, when we walk, we move fast.  But being confined to 100 meters forced us to slow down and deeply appreciate our surroundings.  We had no ground to cover, and we didn’t want our excursion to end sooner than it had to.

I never would have expected to find so many interesting things in the small area near our house.  But every day, we discovered something new.

We found flowers aplenty: each day new blossoms opened up.  We discovered wild thyme and rosemary, mustard flowers to taste, and ten different varieties of wild grain.  Wild hyssop, picked outdoors then dried and sprinkled on pita dough, became a daily event.  Ants and butterflies became our animals at the zoo: if we bent down close, we would always find them doing something interesting.

We found wild irises, deep purple in the evening light.  These flowers were never open in the morning.  So, we made it our mission to catch them at the exact moment that they opened up in the afternoon.

One day, we sat on the ground for a half an hour to watch the irises unfurl their purple petals.

The best part?  At that at the end of every day, I couldn’t believe how much had happened.  Despite all of the perceived slowness, my days were fuller than ever: of accomplishment, discovery, and deep joy.

As life around the world begins to return to its pre-pandemic pace, I find myself forced to make a conscious effort to slow down.  It’s hard.  The whirlwind speed of society is so tempting.  Moving fast and being busy makes us feel like we’re getting more done.

But really, some of the deepest accomplishments happen at a slower pace.  Isn’t inner peace something that we all want to achieve?

Today, tomorrow, slow down.  Stop and watch that beautiful sunset.  Sit outside for a few more minutes.  Don’t run to do the next thing.  Your to-do list will always be waiting for you.  You will still get things done.

Precious moments of focusing on the little things will add richness to your life in a way that no amount of busyness can.

It’s worth stopping for.

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