The art of slowing down…..

Ever felt like you are on a roller-coaster ride, hurtling through life, with barely a moment to stop, pause and simply breathe? Busyness has become a way of life for most of us today. We run from pillar to post from morn till night, ticking things off our ‘to-do’ lists that become progressively longer with each passing day. As night falls, we collapse into bed, exhausted beyond belief. We wake up the next morning, and the whole cycle begins again.

I have often met people who feel ‘guilty’ at the very thought of stopping the constant rushing around and actually doing nothing for a few minutes. They believe that every waking moment must be spent doing something useful and productive. And while i admire these very same people for their energy and tenacity, I am from a different school of thought.

Just the other morning, i woke up as usual to a sleeping household ( I am always the first one up). It was dark and cold outside….the world was in a deep slumber….sunrise was still an hour away….I walked into the kitchen and switched on the kettle. Spooning my instant coffee (it’s the only one i will drink) into the mug, i thought about all the things i had to do first thing that morning. I ticked off an imaginary list in my brain….the washing machine had to be switched on, the school uniforms had to be ironed, the permission notes for the kids’ excursions had to be signed, the lunch boxes had to be prepared….the list went on and on and on…..

Normally, i would have whizzed around the house, doing a bit of this and then a bit of that, pausing every now and then to take large gulps of coffee that was fast cooling. Often i would return to the kitchen after half an hour of chores to find that i had forgotten all about the coffee that i had been so looking forward to upon waking up.

That morning, however, i decided to do something different….just for the fun of it….just for a change. I picked up my mug of steaming Nescafe and resolutely ignoring all the tell-tale signs of housework that simply begged to be completed, i walked straight to our formal lounge room and sat down on the sofa.  I did not pick up a newspaper….I did not switch on the television…..I did not even glance at the computer or think about writing my blog…..I simply stared out of my leadlight windows at the beautiful cluster of trees opposite my house….I could see their dark outlines, swaying in the breeze…far away on the horizon, the first dusky pink glow of the rising sun could be faintly seen…..I heard birds begin their first chirping of the day….the world slumbered on as i simply sat and did…nothing! Every few seconds, i would sip my still piping hot coffee….One stubborn part of my brain kept reminding me of all the chores that yet had to be done…but another, equally adamant part of my brain argued that a few minutes doing nothing  would not bring the world to a halt. I sat there for about twenty minutes…not thinking, not planning, not worrying…..I simply soaked in the beauty and tranquility of Mother Nature in all it’s glory and magnificence.

How often do we take the beautiful world around us for granted. We rarely stop to listen to the birds chirping….I cannot recall the last time i had actually glimpsed the sun rising….I have rarely glanced out of my living room window long enough to notice the beautiful pattern formed by the mighty trees outside that seem to lean on each other for support…..But that morning, i did. I noticed it all. And i was reminded afresh how little importance we give to the art of doing nothing. We are so pleased with our constant state of busyness…our endless running from one task to another…that we rarely stop to consider how vital it is to sometimes bring everything to a standstill.

So, without any accompanying guilt, stop and occasionally smell the roses…..The housework can wait a bit…..

Just for a change, tune in to nature instead of morning radio….the beautiful music created by birds singing or rain lashing against the window sill….it is music for the soul indeed.