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  • Writer's pictureshelisloterbeek

A Slow Life

"I live a slow life" I said to someone the other day. I didn't say it as an excuse or as pride - just a fact.

But I wasn't always this way. And living slowly hasn't always been my choice.

After college I wanted to achieve something great. Climb a ladder of success of some kind. And eventually my life revolved around my job - and then my job defined my identity.

It was difficult to extract the two when they're bound up together. Until your body tells you different. Breaking down in the bathroom. Midday naps in the car. The inability to think of certain common words - like "door."

Signs of burnout. My body, mind and spirit couldn't give any more. And no amount of rest on a weekend seemed to help. What do you do when your entire identity is wrapped up in what you do and you can no longer do it? Unravel. Undo. Unbecome.

And I unraveled.

Kicking and negotiating at first. It's like when you've wound a string around your finger so many times and you unwind is after a time and the indents are still there. The effects of the tight string are still visible.

As I unraveled I began to notice the things that brought me real joy. Sitting in silence with the Divine. Nature. The earth - birds, trees, putting my hands in the dirt. Things that had nothing to do with my own achieving.

And I rested.

Because I had to. Because my body, mind and spirit demanded it. And sometimes I thought perhaps I could do just a little more and it would again, tell me no.

And then, little by little, as I rested and unraveled - I healed.

And I leaned into a slow life because my human being depended on it.

And so I move slowly throughout each day, not so much because I have to, but because it feels better to me. Peaceful. My own form of rest resistance to the grinding culture of achievement and success that drew me into it's gears and chewed me up.

Now slowness is a choice I make.

And it's not always easy. But it's my choice. To notice. To dwell. To gaze longingly and lovingly at the gifts in the world around me.

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