“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
I recently treated myself to a retreat in the mountains, with the intention of pulling out of the busyness of every day life so that I could spend time healing and in reflective writing.
Setting off, I anticipated an easy drive as traffic looked light, but when I reached the mountain pass, I experienced something I had never experienced before:
I was completely blind to my surroundings.
In fact, I realized I had driven into the clouds themselves, engulfed by a pure white energy.
Not fog. Not mist. Just pure white.
For a moment, I was gripped by fear, as one of my recurring dreams involves me speeding around steep, curvy roads until I lose control and drive completely off the edge.
But I noticed the fearful energy quick enough to rein it back in and surrender to the beauty of what I was experiencing.
In order for me to surrender without fear of driving over the edge (or into another car), I had to slow down and become hyper present and aware.
Slow down. Be still.
Creeping along at two miles an hour, I quickly recognized the message the universe was sending me through my experience on that mountain pass that day, and it reignited a passion in me to share this message with you.
Our lives seem to travel at warp speeds these days, with our minds taking in and spewing out information faster than we can keep up with, and our bodies running ragged with the intention to get up early and stay up late in order to get it all done.
Everything around us screams, “Go, go, go” not “slow, slow, slow.” Modern society simply doesn’t promote this kind of “radical” behavior.
So it’s going to take rebels like you and me to fuel this stillness revolution.
Yes, I wrote “rebel” because you are going against the stream, and you are most certainly going to feel a little “different” in doing so.
Your own ego might even resist the very idea of a stillness revolution—rejecting it as being ridiculous, unreasonable, and completely insensible.
Here’s the response from my higher self to that ego doubt (and trust me, my ego is shouting it too).
What if creating a more peaceful and more joyful life means taking actions that seem a bit ridiculous, unreasonable, and insensible?
There is an exercise I use that might shift your perspective called “When I’m 92.”
You can read the below and then close your eyes to really practice the meditation or you can simply follow along now with your eyes open.
Take 3 conscious breaths to settle back into your body and into the now.
Imagine yourself lying in a bed in the hospital when you’re 92 years old.
You are surrounded by love—loving doctors and nurses and most of all, your loving family
You’ve lived an amazing life and you are filled with gratitude for all of the experiences you’ve had.
Your 32-year-old grand-daughter, a self-proclaimed “workaholic,” rushes in, apologizing for running late, and explaining she only has about 15 minutes to stay, as she really must get back to another meeting.
Your 92-year-old self smiles at her and radiates peace and love around her busy energy.
She sits down and takes your frail hand, softening and opening to receive.
The wisdom flows through you to her, as you say:
“My beautiful grandchild, if there is one piece of wisdom I can leave with you before my soul returns to the light, it’s this:
Slow down and be still.
Every single moment that you spend in a space of stillness will be worthwhile and make your life richer than you could have ever thought possible.”
Take a conscious breath—and now imagine you have become the 32-year-old granddaughter.
As that young and busy soul, receive the energy of these words and absorb the meaning into your very core.
Allow yourself this stillness as you’re in this meditative space right now to begin cultivating the practice of stillness in your every day life.
When your intuition tells you that the exercise is complete, send gratitude to your higher self and 92-year-old self, then bring yourself back to this conscious moment with another easy breath (and gently blink your eyes open if they were closed).
Take out your journal, or just a piece of paper if you don’t have a journaling practice, and free write how grounded and peaceful you felt during the above exercise.
Allow your intuition to guide you to choose one action you can take to support your own stillness revolution.
Perhaps, like me, you want to formally create the space for an extended period of slowing down and being still by scheduling a retreat in nature?
Or maybe you want to begin with a simpler practice such as writing the words “Slow Down and Be Still” on a post-it note and putting it up on your car dashboard so that it can remind you of this wisdom as you hustle to and fro?
The specific action isn’t as important as simply taking any action, so choose one and share in the comments below how you are going to slow down and play your part in the stillness revolution!
Photo by N I C O L A