June 29, 2021

I Know I Need to Slow Down But I Can't

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What do you do when you find yourself living life at an unsustainable pace? Do you slow yourself down or find yourself peddling harder, thinking that you'll catch up if you go fast enough?

In this special bonus episode, I bring you 'behind the scenes' into how I accompany myself when I struggle with slowing down even when I know that's what I need. My sharing illustrates how I try to honour the pace I need when life throws some unexpected curve balls. 

I also share a couple of announcements about an upcoming live event that I will be part of as well as a course that I will be teaching.

Share this episode via this episode page.

(00:00:45) - A Different Kind of Episode
(00:04:21) - Life's Curve Balls
(00:14:50) - What's At Stake if I Don't Slow Down?
(00:18:59) - Announcements
(00:21:17) - PRAXIS Question
Available here.

Available here.

- If you don't slow down, what will you end up sacrificing? And if you don't want to pay the price, what can you do to make a change of pace so that you can give yourself a little bit more grace, a little bit more room to be present to yourself and to those whom you love?

Other episodes that would help you understand and apply the lessons in this episode:
- Ep 4 Living from the Inside Out (Part 1)
- Ep 8 The Necessary Practice of Making Space
- Ep 9 The Wisdom in Slowing Down

New Evangelisation Conference 2021
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Have you ever felt that you really need to slow down and take a break, and yet it can be so difficult to just take that break you need?

Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax and listen on to Becoming Me.

Hello again, dear listeners! Welcome to another episode of Becoming Me. Well, today's episode is technically a bonus episode because it's coming out on the fifth Wednesday of the month. And actually, I was not intending to publish an episode this week. Then, quite last minute, I went through this decision-making process.

I went through a discernment process about what is it that I needed to do. And I decided that I should drop this episode today and take the month of July off. So, today's episode is a little different. It's kind of like a behind the scenes, or more like "inside the brain of Ann Yeong" kind of episode. I'm going to share with you what went through my head and what went through my heart as I came to a decision to take a break from recording and producing this podcast for the month of July.

And I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share this with you guys because I really don't mind sharing the struggle with you. I've shared the same kind of thing in the past – that I'm still always trying to intentionally be present and slow down to the pace that is right for me.

And what I mean when I say "the pace is right for me" – it's not the pace at which I can get the most done. It's not the pace at which I can grow at the fastest pace. The pace that is best for me is the pace where I can continue to be in touch with myself – where I can be in touch with my feelings as well as how my body is doing. The pace in which I can still be attentive to God and my prayer and to my husband – to the people that I need to be present with, especially, well, anybody who I'm reaching out to; my clients, for example. I really want to be able to give the best that I can give.

And for me, the best is not quite easily quantifiable. It's not how much I can do, but how much of my presence I can offer and how much of the intentional use of my gifts I can offer; all that goes into making this podcast as well. And maybe I underestimate sometimes, how unpredictable life can be.

And when things come unexpectedly, and I stubbornly insist on continuing with what I had planned; on continuing with, you know, what a progress I had wanted to make – then I can quickly find that I'm overextending myself. And I have actually been overextending myself by a bit – or quite a bit over the last month.

And I just want it to use this opportunity to share with you what had gone on because I think that this can help to illustrate this whole becoming journey in the new way. Okay, so, all the previous episodes – usually I'm sharing stories of what had happened in the past; things that have I have processed.

Right, so, today I'm going to share a little bit about what's current – what's actually going on in my life right now. Recently, it seems everyone I'm talking to is just really tired – is either burning out or already pretty burned out. There seems to be no break. Having meetings move online actually has made things worse for a lot of us because there just seems to be back to back meetings all the time.

So, everyone is tired because this is relentless work rhythm that has not gotten any better – if anything, has gotten worse because of the pandemic. Just because people are working from home, doesn't mean that we get to take more breaks, even though, you know, for example, the bed is so close by, right? Well, I found myself saying over and over again to the people that I was talking to, for example, my clients, or people that I was journeying with.

You know, that you need to really try and slow down or to make space, right? Because you know it's not sustainable to keep working at this kind of pace. We're human beings. We're not machines – we're not robots. But at the same time, I found that I was struggling with the same thing, right?

In the last couple of months, okay – there were unexpected things that happened in my own life. One: There was an unexpected call to deeper healing, which I had not anticipated. To be fair, we cannot always anticipate when an invitation will come for us to do deeper interior work. Right, but what I'm meant by unexpected was, I had not planned to attend a retreat or planned to work on something specific – for example, with a therapist.

I just happened to watch a movie and, you know, some earlier memories in my life that I hadn't been in touch with just came up. And I knew perhaps because I am quite used to doing this work, now I am more sensitive to when an invitation is coming to spend a little bit more time with what is surfacing.

I needed to set out some time to tend to myself. So, I did – for a weekend, and I thought that should be enough for now. But it wasn't – I mean, it required a little bit more attention than I had anticipated. But I realized the option was up to me; I could decide to shelf that and try and return to it at another time.

But I also recognized that the degree to which I honoured my interior journey, is the degree to which I would be authentic in doing my work professionally. I have good reason to prioritize this interior journey, okay? Because, or else I wouldn't be living what I am sharing. So, that's One: there was an unexpected call or invitation to deeper healing.

And as I've mentioned previously on this podcast, inner work requires time, space, and energy. It's not something that we can just add on to everything else that's going on in our lives. I know a lot of people who want to do this inner work, but are unable or unwilling to make the sacrifice and eliminate some things in their life, okay? – To make that space.

And it just isn't going to work because our energy is finite, and our time is finite. So, secondly, apart from the unexpected call into deeper healing, I had unexpected work opportunities that came up during the last couple of months when Singapore went into kind of like a semi lock-down; we called it Phase Two – Heightened Alert.

Okay, so, there were more social restrictions and a live workshop that I had planned – a full day live workshop that I had planned, had to pivot. So, I had a choice to try and either postpone it yet again – because this workshop was actually postponed from last year – or to transform it into an online course.

This gave me an opportunity to transform what would have been a pretty straightforward life workshop into an online course. I was excited because that meant I could go a little bit more in depth with the participants, and it could be spread over a longer period of time – including video recordings that they could access at their own time that they could review.

I could give them journaling prompts which – if you don't realize yet, by now; I love giving journaling prompts. So, all that was great, but it meant that it was going to take a lot more time than what a one day workshop would have taken. So, initially, when I was planning my month of June, for example, I had assumed that after that particular date of the workshop, I wouldn't have to deal with the material anymore.

And instead, I was looking at how to repurpose the same material into a course. And at the same time, I had to pick up new skills like recording video. The people that I was doing it for were very game to try and try it out in the form of an online course – even though the expenses would be higher. So, I dove in and I am in the midst of creating a course that hopefully, next time you can enrol in – it's actually a cause on using the Myers-Briggs index, right? The MBTI.

But not just, you know – to know interesting things about ourselves, or what this means for work or relationship. The particular angle that I take with this instrument is how can we – using the Myers-Briggs, come to understand our true self a little better; maybe reflect on our family of origin experiences. Whether our unique personalities were affirmed and encouraged, or perhaps not so affirmed.

Not through malice, but just because perhaps our caregivers were very different from us, or the kind of preferences that were valued by our families were different because of our cultural context, right? So, that's just one example. But in any case; how nurture can impact our nature, and how that can make it difficult for us perhaps, to accept our real gifts – our real strengths.

In this case, just in the area of personality and temperament. So, anyway, creating a course – it takes up a lot of time, and this was not something that I had budgeted in, or planned in to my year at this point in time – but it felt right. And I'm glad that I dove in. So, the question now is what do I remove to make room for that?

Right, and there are a couple of other things that I have already decided to let go and go slow on. But as it turns out, my body is telling me that it's still not enough. I'm still feeling very worn down, especially when I factor in the individual sessions that I'm running. So, I thought it would be interesting to ask this question, right?

Why is it that we can't seem to slow down and pause even when we know it's important? I mean, just take myself for example: I can assure you I truly believe it is imperative that I learn to slow down and pause when I need to, right? I have experienced the, you know, the consequences of not doing so.

And even then, in the moment, it is so tempting to just try and push myself that much further. Because when I look around me, at the world, everybody else is pushing harder – everybody else seemed to be, you know, saying, yes; I'm so tired and I don't have time, but they still keep going. And there's a part of me that thinks if I don't do the same thing – if I don't try and keep up, I'm going to fall behind and I'm going to fail.

I think most of us behave and act like we are constantly in competition and that if we don't keep up, we will fall behind and fail. We will disappoint people. We will get into trouble. Maybe, yeah? Because of us, our teammates or our bosses, you know, they're going to be unhappy with us because we're not just going as fast as we can. But what if going as fast as we can, and not taking a break, doesn't really stand to benefit anyone?

It seems that a lot of times I don't even slow down enough to be able to ask that question, right? Like, is it really for the best for me to keep going and not slow down, and not pause? So, when I do pause and ask this question: why is it that I can't seem to slow down or pause, even when I know it's so important to? The answer I come to is: it's fear, right?

Like I mentioned, if I stopped showing up at the same pace as the world around me does, I will fall behind – I will fail. And what will I fail at? Well, when I ask myself that question, I feel like I will fail at impressing others; at making more of an impact. Maybe proving my worth, achieving more. It's always back down to the same issues, isn't it?

But then I asked myself what will happen if I don't slow down? So, this is a different question, right? What will happen if I don't slow down? My stress levels will lead to my health taking a hit – that's for sure. I wouldn't be able to savour each moment of the work that I actually enjoy. I wouldn't be able to savour my life.

I wouldn't be able to be fully present and give of my full self to each task that I'm doing, or each person that I'm with – and I really want to be able to be fully present. I wouldn't be able to draw strength and wisdom from my inner-self. You know, I often talk about living from the inside out. If I don't slow down and I don't pause, I would be just running, you know, at the outermost surface of my life. 

I wouldn't be able to draw from the inner strength of my core. Right, so, then life will no longer be lived with integrity. I will fall away from the interior journey into authenticity and wholeness. It's just impossible to make this journey when you don't slow down and you don't pause to be intentional about it.

And my relationships will all suffer – my relationship with God, with myself, with others; beginning always with my relationship with my husband. If I imagine that this is the last day of my life here on earth, what kind of life would I want to have lived? I want to have lived a life where I had been faithful to the life and the story that I've been given – a life that is deeply lived, fully savoured and generously given away.

Now, in large part, my fear of slowing down, perhaps is fear of not doing enough for others. But I have to remember that when I'm running on fumes, there's nothing of real value that I can offer anyone. If I don't make space, slow down, and rest when I need to, my body or some broken relationship will eventually force me to rest at some point – and the costs then will be much higher. So, what is at stake if I don't slow down? My health, my relationships, my soul. 

So, what I decided that I needed to do, right – was to practice what I preach. I am struggling along with you. I know how hard it is to make this interior journey. And I think it's important that I continue to struggle in this journey, so that I don't forget – so that I can be compassionate with those that I walk with; who are struggling, you know, who really know they need to slow down and just can't seem to do so.

The day that I stop trying to walk my talk is the day I would have lost my greatest value as a guide, mentor and coach. So, for that reason, I'm going to be taking a break off podcasting in July – which means there will be no new episodes in July. But I will come back with a new episode in August, and that episode will be a special one because it just so happens that it will drop on my wedding anniversary.

So, there will be an episode – maybe recorded with my husband, Henry, maybe not – but either way, we will be looking at, or I hope to be looking at this journey of integration and authenticity in the context of a marriage. Okay, so maybe those of you who are married or interested in getting married would find it a special episode to listen to.

And in the meantime, I just wanted to give a couple of announcements – and this is especially for my Catholic listeners in Singapore. On the 24th of July, which is a Saturday, there is a New Evangelization conference, and I will be presenting at one of the breakout sessions at that conference in the afternoon; on the topic of Personal Integrity and Authenticity and Evangelization.

So, if you're able to, I invite you to register for that conference. I will share the link in the show notes. I think registration is already open at this point in time. So, another thing that will be happening in July is that registration will be opening for the second run of A Leader’s Spirituality (ALS).

That's a course that I'm teaching through the Catholic Leadership Centre in Singapore, and this will be the second run. It will be a new and improved version of the first run and I'm very excited to bring it to you. So, we're still working on updating the information before registration goes live.

The actual course will actually run in September and October this year, but the registration will be opening in July. And if the first run was any indication, places could be filled up quite quickly. So, if you're interested in finding more about A Leader’s Spirituality (ALS), please head over to the Catholic Leadership Centre's website.

I will also drop that link in the show notes for this episode. So, apart from catching me on this podcast, if you're also interested in knowing where else I might pop up, what courses I might be giving, or what events I might be speaking at – you'll want to make sure that you are subscribed to the Becoming Me mailing list.

If you haven't already, you might want to do that so that you won't miss out on any latest updates about what I'm doing. So, how you'd do that is you'd go to my website at becomingme.sg and scroll to the bottom of the page, and you'll see a place where you can put in your name and your email, and subscribe to my mailing list.

So, that's what I wanted to share with you today. And I would like to leave you with this question: What's keeping you from slowing down, from pausing, from taking the time you need to give yourself the space to hear your own thoughts – to live from a place of deeper integrity from within yourself?

What's keeping you from taking some things out from your life, or choosing to fall behind, perhaps – so that the most important things in your life will have a chance to grow and be healthy? I gave an example in today's sharing of what is important to me. I invite you to apply the same thought process to what is important to you.

Maybe you could ask: what is at stake if you don't slow down? What will you end up sacrificing if you do not slow down? How high are your stakes, and are those costs that you would pay if you don't slow down? Do you really want to pay them? And if you don't, what's stopping you from pressing pause today? And if you don't want to pay the price, what can you do to make a change of pace so that you can give yourself a little bit more grace – a little bit more room to be present to yourself and to those whom you love.

Finally, if you're a new listener that has only recently started listening to the Becoming Me podcast, I invite you to use this opportunity – where there are no new episodes dropping in July, to take the time and listen to the podcasts from the beginning. I would recommend, especially the first 10 episodes; where I talk about foundational principles to making this interior journey into authenticity and wholeness.

Thank you very much, once again, for listening, and I wish you from the bottom of my heart; the courage to slow down – the courage to go at the pace of grace.

[00:23:48] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction no matter how small those steps might be. And no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. 

The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingme.sg and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!