I have finally figured out how to slow down time! Really, I have! And it’s not how I ever thought. It’s a revelation to me, which sounds silly. But it really is. Here is how you stop time:
That’s it. It’s simple, really. And it’s always been out there. I just never realized it, and I never slowed down enough to understand. If you, like me, are someone who would cram each day full and run around frantically trying to get all the day’s tasks completed, you could never even contemplate a time when things would ever slow down or give you space to breathe.
This summer, miraculously, I found that space.
For quite some time, I seem to have been collecting books on mindfulness. I’d read bits and pieces here and there. I’d nod my head and say to myself, “Yes. This is it. I really need to be mindful.” And I’d believe it. I just never really did it. I never took the time. I also found a book on slowing down. Again, I nodded to myself and said, “Yes. This is it. I really need to slow down.” And yet.
So, somehow this summer, miraculously, I did it. It was like a happy accident. Once we returned from Kentucky and North Carolina, for some reason (honestly, I think it’s vacation – it really changes my mindset; I feel like a totally different and new person when I am on vacation) I decided to start using the meditation app on my phone. Every day now I start out on the porch and sit still for five minutes. Just five minutes. That doesn’t seem like very long, but clearly it’s long enough for me. Today was day 28, I think.
Then I picked up the book I got at Christmas that’s meant for planning and goal setting to help organize my life. And I started to think, “What goals do I have for myself, personally, right now? How can I reach those goals on a daily or weekly basis?” And then I write them down, get specific with my calendar, and each day I write out my To-do list.
And, perhaps the most important thing, each day I just take time to sit. Just sit. Maybe with coffee, maybe not. But I sit: on the back deck and look at the yard; on the front porch and look at the yard; on my blue Adirondack chair and look at the yard. Wherever. I just sit for a while and literally do nothing. And on each day that I do that, I am stopping time. I fully realized this on a day or two this week when my day was so full of this, that, and the other that I never took my time to just sit. It’s the just sitting that enables me to stop time.
It is wonderful. I now build in time each day to sit. It helps to start the day this way, but at the end is okay, too. It’s a way to find and center myself. It is truly changing my life.
I am also taking time each day to write. Sometimes I do it here, but right now the plan is just to sit each day and write a minimum of 500 words. With the exception of one day, that’s exactly what I’ve done. Sometimes it’s just a glorified journal. Sometimes it’s more. But it’s building the writing habit for me. Because writing is what I love to do, so I need to make sure I’m doing it. It brings joy into my life. And something that can bring joy is something that must be cultivated and tended. So, I’m tending every day.
That brings me here. My overall goal is just to write each day. For now, I’m not too worried about posting here because I’ve always been a little sporadic on the blog anyhow. But I figure once I get the daily writing muscle up to speed, the next step will be to make sure I post once or twice a week. At this point, I’m not sure exactly when that will be, but as school starts in another week, I figure I will need some time to find where some of my new practices will fit into the schedule. But I am glad I have been working on slowing time this summer, because as the new school year starts and things get hopping, it will help me to keep my calm and help me to better deal with the stresses that come with teaching.
So I am excited to start the new year. And I am delighted to have one more week to continue to work on stopping time.