Impress yourself with how slow you can be

This week I was introduced to a poem. It was a reminder to slow down, and it felt like a massive hug:

In the bleak and uncertainty, in the mundane and in the worry, in the misplacing of days and the miscommunication of rules, in the pasta for breakfast and in the cereal for tea, be soft and be gentle, let yourself impress yourself with how slow you can be. – Charly Cox

I love any excuse to be reminded to just sit quietly, read, have a cup of tea. Do things slowly. Isn’t it amazing that we need a reminder?

And even more important perhaps, a reminder to be gentle with ourselves.

How often do we actually do what’s best for us rather than what we think we should be doing? Do we ever listen to our intuition? 

Show mercy

Coincidentally the same morning I listened to an interview with the writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Her message was pretty similar, that you have to be able to be nice to yourself before you’re able to have compassion for the rest of the world. Show yourself mercy. We’re so relentless and merciless on ourselves. We beat ourselves up.

And we should listen to our intuition. As she points out, your body knows what you need, but we’ve got used to listening to our rational minds over our bodies. We think we should do this, we tell ourselves we have to do that, so we do it. Then we maybe regret it, because we weren’t listening to what we truly needed. 

I think it’s something we could all practice more. It’s not always easy. But maybe we can just aim to sneak a bit of intuitive thinking in?

Sometimes it’s as simple as listening to our bodies and having a rest when we’re tired. An actual rest, not just scrolling through whatever online for a hit. A real ‘I need to lie down and close my eyes for a moment’ proper rest.

I did this the other evening. When I finished work my eyes were tired from staring at a screen all day. What I really wanted was to just lie down and close my eyes for a bit. Which I did, and nearly fell asleep.

Then I felt I had the energy to lie on the sofa and watch a bit of tv. Which I did and it felt so good, with not a scrap of guilt that I could be doing something more productive. I felt refreshed afterwards and took myself off to start cooking.

So simple, so obvious, but so often we push ourselves to do the more ‘noble’ thing, the more sensible thing, the more productive thing. But, particularly during this period of the pandemic, I do think the best thing we can do for ourselves is be kind, be gentle, be slow.

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Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by Alexandre Chambon on Unsplash

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