I tell it to myself over and over again. Breathe and be in this moment.
The pain. The joy. The warmth. The wind. Whatever it is, I breathe.
I’ve been working on slowing down, being still, discovering my presence in the moment. This has been no easy task: I was born and raised on phrases like “The early bird gets the worm” and “Hard work pays off.” I watched my father work a job that sometimes required him to be there 80 hours a week so he could support his family. When I was a child, I didn’t entirely understand, but that work-hard-until-you-break attitude became part of me.
I also became a talented multi-tasker, because I believed that getting more done meant I would achieve more. I did homework while watching television. I read books while at play rehearsals or commuting on a subway or waiting in line. I ate while talking to others, while researching a paper, while sitting in class. My mind was always racing. And it was always split.
Nothing seeped. I couldn’t recall exact tastes or textures or settings or words. My entire world felt like a blur. I felt like I was constantly running a race and always falling farther behind, no matter how much faster I went.
Then one day, I stopped completely. I sat on a hilltop with nothing to do but be where I was. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt at home in myself, I felt my surroundings sharpen, I broke free.
And I resolved that I wouldn’t return to my old ways. I’m trying to single-task more, take time to nourish myself, be fully in my life rather than living ahead or behind. Old habits can be hard to break, but they are breaking, every time I stop and center and breathe.
How do you slow down when you feel you’re moving too fast?