After one-year of living in Santa Fe, I finally feel as if I’ve settled into it’s rhythm. In some ways, I feel as if I have always been in Santa Fe, as if the mountains were my home for years before I even knew about Santa Fe. Santa Fe has this way of keeping you or making life difficult for you if you don’t learn it’s flow or it will spit you out, as they say. Santa Fe has taught me the fine art of slowing down. It takes awhile to calm down an east-coast city girl with vata-pitta tendencies to arrive in everything happens-tomorrow-desert-land. When I first arrived, my patience and frustration level for this whole “manana time” and inefficiency drove me bonkers! I drove like I was still in the city, and lost patience when things would just take longer to get done or even happen. I guess it took me becoming unemployed to finally get it. I always would say to one of my sister-friends, I just need a break, and then she would counter, saying you always say it but don’t do it. Now, I get it.
The art of stopping or slowing down is impossible for some of us. Some of us like busy and truthfully get bored when life slows down. I happen to be one of these people. I love busy, but maybe if I didn’t feel so tired or burned out I wouldn’t see how terribly bad it is for my well-being. Now that I have been resting, I realized how my life was built on “rushing.” Everything was hurried, and I was in a rush forcing my way through daily existence trying to get it all done. Then, I thought what if I just stopped and stopped trying? I chose to hit the big fat HALT button deciding to ride the current instead of trying to make it go a certain way or force it all to happen in the time “I” wanted it to. Wow, this is hard for a manifesting lady like myself, yet, it’s been brilliantly refreshing.
The question is how do we slow down, and give ourselves the rest and recuperation we need when life is busy? Isn’t creating a super-abnormally busy life where we rush, run, and go-go-go just another opportunity to check out and not really live or be mindful of what’s really happening? This is how I came to see it, because this is how I had been living for a long time.
If you are busy, you have to create the “stopping” time. It’s essential. I didn’t do this and would get sick over and over again. Here are some tips for all of us who like “busy,” but need to hit “halt or stop.”
1. Take 5-10 minutes a day to practice yoga or any mindfulness based practice, like meditating or pranayama. If you have more time great, but if not, who the hell cares! Even if the goal oriented mind says, “I must practice for 30 minutes a day!” Forget it! 5 minutes of quality counts.
2. Take time to eat your meals. Even if you have only 30-40 minutes for lunch, make it count and don’t rush it. Give your body the time to digest your food. Your gut will thank you.
3. Spend quality time with yourself. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day and you have kids, a family, a boyfriend/girlfriend, job, money, going, hustle-bustle, excuse, excuse, excuse. (I’ve made all of them!) Take the time, otherwise we get all lost in everyone-else-land.
4. Give yourself time to get to places, so you avoid the rushing part.
5. Exercise and spend time outside to rejuvenate with nature. This is my sanity. I swear. Whenever, I am overwhelmed or my head is spinning with thoughts, going for a hike or walking outside is just enough to calm me down.
6. Sleep. Yep, you have to sleep. Find your own rhythm. Do you need 8, 7, or 6 hours? The bottom line is that we all need sleep for our body to restore. It is noticeable. People look refreshed and rejuvenated when they have taken the time to rest.
7. Breathe when life gets busy. Remember to breathe. If you are in the middle of intensity, simply begin paying attention to your breath. Inhale then exhale, and see what happens.
Then, follow the labyrinth to stop in the middle way.