I wrote this next blog well before there was any talk of the Coronavirus and I wondered if I should change or edit it but I’m going to post it, as it is. Who knew when I was writing it that the pandemic could be, in it’s own way a blessing and such a powerful lesson in slowing down, pressing pause on the distractions and to simply be….
“‘No matter what happens, always keep your childhood innocence. It’s the most important thing’ ”
- Acclaimed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini
As I sit down to write this, I realise that all my demons have come out to play. The voices in my head that try to distract me from what I have to do…‘have you emailed that guy back?’, ‘are we out of coffee?’, ‘ Do I need to wear fake tan with that dress?’ ‘how long will it take to drive from Dublin to Westport?!’ I am the ultimate procrastinator. Putting things off means that instead of having to do a few things tomorrow, I have a mountain of things to do. Every day.
As I meditate (something I don’t actually put off!) the one thing that keeps coming up for me is a desire to bring more focus into my life. Life is full of distractions. For all of us. Always. And the more I try to bring awareness into my life, the more I observe how unconscious I really am. How often have you driven home from work and arrive thinking to yourself ‘ I have no memory of that journey!’.
It got me thinking of the popularity of ‘SLOW TV’ which is big business in Norway. A few years ago I attended MediaCon, a TV and technology summit in the Mansion House and I heard from Rune Moklebust from Norwegian TV station NRK talking about Slow TV and how it was the most popular type of television programming in the country at the time. It was fascinating listening to him speak.
Slow TV is any kind of television coverage that occurs in real-time, shows include hours and hours of people knitting, watching someone sleep (bit creepy!) and even a six day ferry journey! It sounds nuts but the ratings show that this is what people want there. And it got me thinking about how ‘busy’ we all are, how distracted our lives can be and how we could all do with a bit more ‘slow’ in our lives.
Why are people sitting down to watch a roaring fire for hours on end? Can they not simply light their own fire and turn the telly off instead? The rise is this type of television is a sure sign that people want to slow down and be present.
It reminds me of being a kid, lying in the grass, looking up to the sky and seeing shapes in the clouds. Experiences I am thankfully having again as I’m a Mom to a young boy. But surely these are things we can all do, whether we have kids or not? And they are freely available to us all, if we can make time for them.
A friend of mine told me how distracted she is, thinking of all she has yet to do for the next day, that she’s read the bedtime story for her little one without realising what she has even said! With so much going on in our lives, our minds and bodies are in a constant state of action, we forget to just be. To take a breath and observe whatever it is that is going on in that minute. Becoming aware of what is happening in the here and now is so beneficial to us and something we did automatically before the digital world became the norm.
I fully respect the wonderful advances of technology but I also think that the more connected our worlds have become online, the more disconnected we’ve become in our actual lives. Writing this article itself, I’ve checked my emails and my phone a few times, I’ve thought about making coffee and wondered if I’ve washed my ‘good jeans’ for the weekend. What’s wrong with simply allowing yourself to focus on one thing at a time, or maybe this is just me?!
We celebrate the hard working, busy person in society. How many times have we heard, ‘it’s great to be busy!’ But is it, really? When we’re busy, days can roll into weeks and we wonder where they time went. Being productive and aware at the same time is where I want to get to personally and the truth is the more I practice it, the more I catch myself and in that second I’m present. Taking time out for yourself isn’t a negative, it has proven to be one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Slowing down can make us happier and more creative so isn’t it time we indulge a calmer pace of life?
When we slow down, breathe and connect with whatever it is that is going on for us we can tune in to what is truly going on for us, saving money in the long run on doctors appointments to try and solve the problem after the fact!
So maybe this evening when you’re reading that bedtime story, just breathe and be present. Let go of whatever is going on, trust that all is good and just read to your little one. Slowly.