The Power in Slowing Down

Slowing down is not something New Yorkers do well. The energy here is kinetic and because we are immersed in it, we can feel this constant urge to DO SOMETHING all of the time.

I spent many years not realizing this. I was perfectly happy immersed in this energy. I am a doer, you see. And doers are always doing something. Maybe this is why I love this city so much - I greet it like a person whenever I come back from traveling.

And while my love and affection for my home (our home) has never faltered, what has is my identity (or mask) of doer.

The mask of “doer” is one that I struggle to put down.

Not because I don’t want to, but because the habit is so ingrained in my personality and not doing takes effort.

Ah, the paradox of an expanding awareness.

And the story of my life stream is that I’m a working mom. Working moms ALWAYS have things to do. For realz.

But my spiritual practice asks me to cultivate BEING. And what is that again?  When I use the terms cultivating “being” or “presence” I mean to be completely present in the here and now. To respond to what comes and trust in the natural flow of life.

A very real tension presents itself. How do I cultivate a sense of being where there is always so much to do?

My Spiritual Teacher said to “thread being into the fabric of my day” which is a beautiful intention but one I struggled to grasp.

And then Eckhart Tolle (author of “Power of Now”) and Oprah (she needs no last name) came around with these awesome podcasts and answered a question that I didn’t know I had.

“How do I cultivate presence and also be ambitious and inspired to create and grow?”


Eckhart Tolle’s answer was brilliant.  I’ll paraphrase…

There is a time for planning - when you are planning, give it your full attention.

There is a time for creating - when you are creating, give it your full attention.

Oprah and I had an Aha! moment together. Okay, she likely had it first.

So, moral of the story: there are times for doing and when you are doing, give that doing your full attention. All other times, be present in the here and now.

Feel your body, watch your breath, and look around you. For goodness sake, look up from your phone and see the world around you.

When we can do that, something interesting happens. This busy feeling - for me, a sense of urgency - starts to go away. Slowing down starts to happen naturally. Most of the time, there is no urgency to answer emails or texts RIGHT NOW. I realize it’s just my thinking mind that tells me it’s urgent.

But that’s not real. That’s just my thinking.

And you can’t always believe what you think.