The time in quarantine has caused many of us to question our lives, our jobs, our relationships and what we want out of life. For many of us this has also been quite a triggering time. The quarantine period has changed things for us and forced us into a more slower pace of life. A choice that had been out of our control.
How have you found the time living slower?
Has it caused you to question your choices in life?
Has is caused you to evaluate certain areas in your life? Has it mirrored something to you?
Whatever this period has brought up for you it would have been practising being with yourself in your own space.
That’s the secret to intentional, or slow, living; when we practice patience with ourselves and others, and allow the busyness of our lives to fall away, we can feel the emotion that exists in every moment, and truly connect to the people and things around us.
Childhood is, by its very definition, an opportunity to practice slow living. When we are children we do not have the stress of our jobs, our social status, or providing for others weighing on our shoulders. Not only are our days free from responsibility, they are also free from anxiety and worry.
But the truth is that the happiness we so desperately seek on our busiest days is not found in the countless distractions of the world around us, but in the innocence of our hearts.
As we age, we have a tendency to forget the purpose of intentional living, and instead allow our days to be managed and monitored by the incessant beeping or text and email alerts and the allure of amassing social media likes. We allow our souls to be turned away from spiritual clarity and light, believing instead that the more “stuff” we allow to fill our days, the happier we will be.
But the truth is that the happiness we so desperately seek on our busiest days is not found in the countless distractions of the world around us, but in the innocence of our hearts—the stillness and presence that has dwelled within us since we were children. Of course, I’m not recommending that you quit your job tomorrow, forgo all of your responsibilities, and craft some sort of bubble-like lifestyle for your days. I am suggesting that you evaluate where your priorities lie, and if you find your life has become too fast-paced to truly connect with yourself and others, that you take small action steps toward decluttering your spiritual core—the part of you that knows the answers to life’s greatest mysteries do not lie in the rush, but rather, in the moments of connection.
Living intentionally is an art, and is not something that we can master overnight, but by committing to a practice of cultivation, we can encourage relaxation of our nervous systems, begin to avoid the people and things that take our time and energy without giving us anything in return, and create a life we love—a life that is full of peace and genuine joy. Here’s how to get started:
Evaluate your life.
What do you truly want out of your life? If there were no barriers like money or power, what would you want to do and with whom would you want to do it? Consider the answers to these questions to be your sense of inner wisdom and trust the messages you receive.
Identify the people and activities that you desire to willingly surround yourself with, as well as those to whom you feel obligated, and notice how you feel when you think about these people and tasks, responding to your thoughts without judgment. Then, work on increasing the amount of time you spend doing what you love with those you love.
Little by little, you will find that you are able to take control of your life and live in a way that fullfills you, allowing you to practice intentional presence in all areas and finding meaning to your everyday which is important in your healing journey.
Understand that busyness does not equal importance.
Answering all the emails in our inboxes while we sit at the dinner table is not going to mean anything to the people who mean the most to us. While many responsibilities are unavoidable, there is something to be said for committing to presence of mind, no matter how much we may struggle with feeling like we’re missing out on something that only our devices can tell us about.
Being too busy serves no purpose other than to detract from our connection with the people that are nearest to us.
Generations ago, when professionals did not have electronic tools like mobile phones or tablets, they somehow managed to complete all of their tasks and were considered by others as having contributed to society. Somewhere along the way, that understanding became skewed, and now, we have lofty expectations for how quickly we can respond to a summons and the number of commitments we can successfully juggle at one time.
Understand that being busy does not make us successful or important; in fact, often, being too busy serves no purpose other than to detract from our connection with the people that are nearest to us.
Choose a place in your home where you will stow your mobile phone and other electronics upon entering the house. When our phones are out of reach, they will almost automatically leave our minds, and we can focus on being present with the people who are physically with us. If you find that spending all your time at home without your phone is too difficult or not reasonable for your lifestyle, establish small blocks of time (five to ten minutes maximum) that you are allowed to check your phone before re-stowing and returning your attention to the present. Over time, you will find that your need to have these phone breaks becomes less and less frequent.
Our world is noisy—there is no other way to describe it. Yet, we’ve become so accustomed to the din of our environment that we have seemingly become immune to noticing how this constant chaos negatively impacts us physically and emotionally. When was the last time you spent a moment in silence? It’s probably been quite some time, if you can even remember a moment free from noise at all. Our culture perpetuates trepidation around quiet, wanting to fill every pause with some sort of sound effect or reverie, so it’s important for us, as we pursue a slower lifestyle, to create a space in our lives that is free from distractions.
Find a way to bring calm and quiet into your life whether it comes through a daily practice of meditation, a walk through the silence of nature, or a peaceful moment spent in bed before you close your eyes to rest, or journaling. Pursuing peace will lead to a regular commitment to quiet and allow you to grow in your understanding of what it means to be truly present. If there is one thing that quarantine has taught me, that is to slow down and be more mindful in the moment. It doesn't matter if my video is not edited or that blog isn't written, I have to look after myself to be able to give to others and by slowing down I can achieve this.
What has the quarantine period taught you? What have you been practising whilst being in lockdown?