Nov. 17, 2020

The Wisdom in Slowing Down


EPISODE 9
 
Making the interior journey and living from the inside-out requires us to learn a new way of being and acting. The process of learning to live from the inside-out consist of deep soul work that cannot be done while we are living at the typical “warp speed” of our modern lives.

In this episode I explain how “slow is fast, and fast is slow” when it comes to living the interior life and offer some practical suggestions on how to create your own Slowing Down Routine when you need to exit the expressway and enter a more contemplative space for inner life work.
 
Share this episode via this episode page.

CHAPTER MARKERS
00:00 - Introduction
00:55 - Learning to Touch Type
07:46 - Dissipated Speed vs Grace and Ease
10:57 - Slowing Down and Creating Space
14:39 - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act.
17:23 - Conclusion
Available here.

TRANSCRIPT
Available here.

REFLECTION PROMPT
Listen.
 - As you listened to today’s episode, what struck you? 
 - What emotions or thoughts came up in response as you listened?

Ponder.
- What signs might there be in your life that are telling you that you have been moving too fast and that you need to slow down? 

Act.
- Create your own Slowing Down Routine if you don’t have one yet.
- Set aside some time and make a date with yourself. Solitude is important for this routine because it is your inner self that you need to reconnect with. 
- Decide on a venue and a simple activity. Pick a place where you will not be disturbed and where the environment is reasonably quiet and conducive for calming you down.
- Choose an activity that you enjoy and does not require you to multi-task, perform or achieve. 
- If you already have a routine you love for slowing down, then find some time in the weeks ahead to enjoy it!

For full details of this reflection prompt, please see transcript.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Watch this beautiful 10 minute video about Slowing Down by Green Renaissance.
Read my blog entry Re-learning How to Slow Down

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Transcript

EP 9 | THE WISDOM IN SLOWING DOWN

Do you live life at a pace that makes it impossible to live from the inside out?

[00:00:10] INTRODUCTION
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. 

[00:00:39] 
Hello again, dear listeners. We are now at episode nine. Today, I will be talking about the necessity of slowing down in order to make progress in our interior journey so that we can live with more precision and impact.

[00:00:55] LEARNING TO TOUCH TYPE
When I was still a very young child. We had an old typewriter in my home, and I used to bang on the keys. I mean, there wasn't any paper or anything, but it was one of the toys that I somehow really liked. And when I first started typing on a keyboard, I used my two index fingers to pick out the right keys. And eventually my mom would actually put in a piece of paper and I could see the words appearing as I typed.

[00:01:27] 
As I got older and began to be able to type actual words, my mother decided that I would benefit from learning how to touch type. So one day my mother came home with a new keyboard. It was an educational toy because this keyboard from Toys “R” Us was meant to teach me how to touch type – touch typing, being that proper typing technique, where you would use all 10 of your fingers and ultimately be able to type without having to look down at the keyboard.

[00:02:00] 
So this practice keyboard had different shades to indicate which keys were meant to be hit by which fingers. And it also indicated which key was meant to be well, the home key for each of my 10 fingers. And it was also capable of evaluating me for typing speed as well as accuracy. 

At first, I felt really frustrated because learning this new technique where every finger had a home key really slowed me down and, being impatient, even as a child, I would sometimes try to speed up my typing, you know, mix in some of my, my old techniques, but that just resulted in me making more mistakes that way. The phrase “slow and steady” certainly did not describe me. I was neither slow nor steady. 

[00:02:56] 
Fortunately though. I also love to learn new things. So, while slowing down frustrated me, my determination to try and master this new skill kept me practicing long enough until the day when for the first time I was able to type an entire paragraph with 100% accuracy. And without looking down at the keyboard, even once. 

[00:03:21] 
The satisfaction and joy of that accomplishment provided me with the enthusiasm to keep honing my typing skills until I was able to pretty much touch type with good accuracy. And without having to look down at a keyboard much, 

[00:03:36] 
I didn't know it at the time but learning to touch type would greatly elevate my quality of life as I got older, especially after I entered university and had hundreds of pages of essays and theses to type. Even today, I continue to type probably thousands of words a week, both in correspondence, as well as in writing reflections or even scripts for my podcast, being able to touch type enables me to spend less energy and time on the typing and focus on my thoughts and on the content.

[00:04:13] 
So, what has touched typing have to do with living with authenticity? Well, you know, all these various principles for making the interior journey that I've been sharing in this podcast? They are not something you can just pick up and become proficient in overnight or even in a week or a month. And each of these aspects of making the interior journey would require patient practice over a prolonged period of time before you would feel that it is becoming second nature to you and before you begin to actually experience the benefits of living from the inside out.

[00:04:49]
And the more you practice, the more living from the inside out becomes natural to you. And the longer you do it, the more you begin to notice how different life is. But until you're doing it regularly enough that you begin to start noticing the fruits of living more authentically and being more grounded with your own inner self, you're going to probably feel that you're living quite inefficiently 

because it may feel like you need to take a lot of time to connect with yourself before you figure out how you actually feel about something. And then before you actually make a decision and compare to the old way that you've been living, where maybe you just make snap decisions, it may feel very frustrating. And you could be tempted to just give up and go back to the old way of living. 

[00:05:42] 
For most of us before we are used to making the interior journey and living from the inside out, we are living at warp speed on the top most layer of our lives. And when we are living at that kind of speed, we can't see anything clearly. Everything just passes us in a blur. And that includes our own emotional responses to what is happening in our lives. We just don't check in with ourselves and that's why we're able to keep moving so fast. 

[00:06:11] 
But when we speed through our lives, we can't savour what we live through and we can't listen to our lives because our inner self can only be heard when we have slowed down sufficiently to be fully present and attentive.

[00:06:29] 
Just think about it for a moment. When you're with someone, maybe your spouse or a friend, and maybe you really want to talk about something that had happened in your day. And they do ask you, “So how was your day?” But they are looking at their phone the entire time. Maybe they're texting or scrolling through their social media feed, or they are constantly scanning the room and looking at what's happening around them.

[00:06:56] 
How would you feel? Would you be eager to tell them about how your day was? Probably not? I think all of us prefer it when the person's sitting across us is looking us in the eye and you know that you have their attention, you know that they're actually listening, and you know that they're in that same space with you and that they're holding space for you.

[00:07:23] 
It's the same thing in our relationships with our inner selves. If we want our souls to bear itself to us, if we want to be able to hear our true emotions, we need to learn to slow down and be present and attentive to ourselves. We don't deserve any less than that. 

[00:07:46] DISSIPATED SPEED VS GRACE & EASE
Having said all that, there are different kinds of moving fast. On the one hand, there is the living at warp speed on the surface of our lives, where we are heading everywhere and nowhere at once and becoming increasingly dissipated and scattered. That is like being on the highway to inauthenticity and burnout because the longer we are on this track, the more entrenched we get in believing that our worth is defined by how much we do.

[00:08:18] 
And as long as that is the belief that is driving our behavior, we are going to find it very hard to slow down. Because if we slow down, then it may look like we're doing less, which would then make us feel like we are worth less. On the other hand, there is the grace and ease that comes from disciplined practice and the precision of living with focus and intentionality.

[00:08:47] 
Imagine if you will, the speed and precision with which a master chef uses the knife to chop and dice. Now it is possible to learn, to live our own lives with a kind of ease and grace that authentic and wholehearted living brings, but that kind of living can only be the result of making the interior journey and making the interior journey takes practice.

[00:09:13] 
When we become more used to living from the inside out, we will notice much sooner when we are living without engaging our core or when we are failing to listen to our life. And when we find that we are off track, it will become less difficult to return to the interior journey and begin again.

[00:09:33] 
Just as I can now never return to typing with my two index fingers because now it feels so unsatisfying and ineffective to me. So it is that once you have entered the groove of living from the inside out, you will find that living at high speed on the surface layer of life is extremely unsatisfying, unfulfilling, and ineffective.

[00:09:59] 
Now learning touch typing is a relatively simple skill to become proficient in. But learning the practices of authentic interior living requires a lifelong commitment to intentional living. At this point, it is helpful to remember that you don't need to become proficient in any of the things that you've been hearing in my podcast right away.

[00:10:21] 
In fact, you don't even have to try and work on them all at once. That would just be too overwhelming. And that is why at the close of every episode, I give you a reminder to go as fast or slow as you need and to take breaks whenever you need. If you have started to feel overwhelmed, I invite you to go back and listen to episode 2, where I talk about how you can make the most out of this resource in a way that doesn't overwhelm you and also be able to enjoy the process along the way.

[00:10:57] SLOWING DOWN AND CREATING SPACE
Now slowing down is closely linked to creating space in our lives. In fact, you could say the practice of creating space regularly in our lives helps us to slow down the pace of our living and slowing down. The pace of our lives allows us to then continue to create more spaces in our life for creativity, for rest and interior growth.

[00:11:24] 
Both slowing down and making space requires us to practice subtraction in our lives in order to live with greater intentionality. It doesn't mean that we always have to live slow. That is a practical impossibility for the vast majority of us who cannot unplug from this world for long stretches.

[00:11:45] 
However, we can practice slowing down for shorter periods of time and in a more regular manner. Such a: Allocating a full day for white space every month, or going for a leisurely walk on a regular basis or spending even just 10 minutes every day, sitting in silent meditation or prayer. Once you become intentional about finding ways to slow down. I bet you will have a lot of fun thinking up different ways to create white space and the different ways of connecting with your inner self that would bring you delight.

[00:12:21] 
I'll let you in on a couple of my favorite ways of slowing down when I find myself at home alone. I turn on my essential oil diffuser, and I make myself a fancy cup of oatmeal latte in one of my favourite pretty cups. And I savor every sip of that latte as Kevin Kern plays on in the background. 

[00:12:44] 
I don't read anything. I like to sometimes just walk around the living room a little bit, or maybe stand by the window because my apartment has quite a beautiful view and, you know, just let my mind kind of space out as I take in the taste of the coffee and the music and the view.

[00:13:08] 
Or if I am home alone in the evenings, I sometimes like to dim the lights and light some candles and listen to some classical music or Gregorian chant. And I just sit there and I let the music just wash over me. As someone who lives in the world of ideas and concepts, most of the time, my mind is always busy thinking about different things.

[00:13:37] 
And so engaging my senses in these ways, help to rest and ground me by bringing my awareness back to the present moment. It helps to reconnect my mind with my body because my mind is not off just thinking about something else and not aware of what my body is feeling or doing. Instead, I'm now using my mind to connect with the beautiful aromas, the wonderful taste and all this helps to reconnect my mind with my body.

[00:14:08] 
And at the same time, it delights my heart. And when I do this, I find myself entering naturally into conversation with God and connecting with my soul. These slowing down routines can in a pretty short manner, help me to reintegrate my mind with my body, with my heart and my soul. And even just 20, 30 minutes of doing one of these routines help me to relax and I always emerge from them refreshed.

[00:14:39] PRAXIS: LISTEN. PONDER. ACT.
Let's turn this over to what you can do now, as we go through today's Praxis prompts, 

[00:14:47] 
One, listen, as you listened to today's episode, what struck you did something resonate particularly strongly with you? Any emotions or thoughts came up in response as you listened to what I have to say? 

[00:15:05] 
Two, ponder. What signs might there be in your life right now that are telling you that you have been moving too fast and that you need to slow down? 

[00:15:18] 
Three, act. If you don't yet have a couple of favourite slowing down routines, I invite you to create one set aside some time and make sure that it's not too short, but set aside some time and make a date with yourself.

[00:15:37] 
I want to stress that solitude is important for these slowing down routines, because it is your inner self that you need to reconnect with. Choose a venue and an activity. Will it be at home or maybe out in a nearby park or perhaps your favourite cafe? Would it be a visit to a museum?

Pick a place where you will not be disturbed and find an environment that is reasonably quiet and conducive for calming you down. 

[00:16:11] 
Choose an activity that you enjoy, but which does not require you to have to perform or achieve or multitask. This is especially important if you're someone struggling with perfectionism. 

Choose something that is simple to do, and which would help to unite you body, heart, mind, and soul. Something that will help you rest. 

[00:16:39] 
If you already have a routine you love for slowing down, then find some time in the coming weeks ahead to enjoy it. In fact, do it more than once. 

The more harried and stressed you find yourselves the more frequently you should allocate time in your calendar for some white space and or a slowing down routine. 

[00:17:01] 
I would actually so love to hear about your slowing down routines. I'm always excited to learn about the new creative things that people are doing to help them tune into themselves. 

So please drop me an email or a personal message through the website or Instagram or Facebook. And let me know when you have found something that works great for you. 

[00:17:23] CONCLUSION
Well, that brings us to the end of this episode of Becoming Me as always go at a pace that is right for you. Do as little, or as much as you are ready and take breaks when you need to. I hope that after listening to this episode, you will feel pretty excited about coming up with your own slowing down routine and finding a time and space to have that date with yourself.

[00:17:55] 
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.

[00:18:14]
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!