Photo: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
When we slow down, we start to see things and relationships that we had simply run by before. Our senses become engaged and our world becomes richer and more abundant as we notice what was there all along.
I know a woman who was tired of feeling rushed and frazzled in the mornings. She'd hurriedly walk her four sweet dogs and then rush back to see if her husband had fed their 9-year-old son on time. Then she'd race off to drive him to school, but get caught waiting in traffic lines.
One day, she got creative and decided to combine two activities by walking her son to school with the four dogs in tow. All seven of them—she and her husband, one child and four dogs—became a walking "party." Each morning, they began a lively, new adventure. Cars slowed to view their parade, and the family often saw tired-looking commuters glance over in surprise, then break out in wide grins and wave enthusiastically. Once in a while, someone would honk in appreciation.
Kids at the elementary school also loved seeing the family arrive at the drop-off area. After just a few weeks, as many as 40 children would be waiting at the front gate for the arrival of their new furry friends—always telling the family about their own dog companions waiting for them back at home. It was like a traveling petting zoo.
Not only did the woman stop hating mornings, but so did her son—he started looking forward to school! Even the dogs appeared to walk with a newfound pride and purpose.
Slowing down does not require you to do more, but rather to put more meaning into what you do.
We are all so rushed. So busy. Running so fast. And when we do stop and look around, we wonder just what we have accomplished. We know that life is not a race, but we all seem to be running in one!
Lily Tomlin has said: "Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat." Well, none of us are rats and most of us don't want to be running that race. We want to slow down and put more meaning in our lives.
Many Americans spend the bulk of their waking hours getting ready for, going to, sitting at, coming home from and winding down from work. When we're not busy performing our jobs, we're thinking of work or trying to recover from it. Yet even for those of us who love our chosen work, we want the efforts of our hands and our minds to yield something more meaningful than making ends meet or accumulating money.
Despite our exhaustion and jam-packed schedules, we want to put more of ourselves into our lives and into the world. We know there must be a way, but modern life often erodes the connection between us and our labors.
This week, you will make a shift from running all the time to walking and seeing the beauty around you and within you.
Get your activities for Week 11