“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.”
When did you last stop to ‘smell the roses’, or allow yourself the time to ‘stand and stare’?
As far as any of us are aware, THIS LIFE IS IT! You can gamble on there being something else on ‘the other side’, but are you seriously going to leave living until a day that’s unlikely to even exist?
Can you subscribe to the belief that you can get more out of life, by ‘doing’ less?
Driven to succeed
If you’ve read my ‘About me‘ page, you’ll see I’ve spent a good proportion of my life as a driven woman.
Driven to do what you may ask?
A retroscope (a made-up word used by midwives!) is a wonderful tool, it means you can look back and see where you could have made different choices to have another outcome. Looking through my imaginary scope, I see someone who was trying to ‘prove’ something to herself and others, who, despite being a rather adventurous and naive teenager, could still ‘succeed’ in a career.
I’ve met, and continue to meet, people with similar aspirations.
Living in this fast-paced society, we feel (and IMHO are encouraged to believe) the only way to live is to cram it all in – our ever increasing workload and active social life – and sitting for any period of time in stillness and calm, is a selfish, fruitless and boring waste of time.
Being with my self
I had a bit of an epiphany when I made the brave move (alone) to live and work in New Zealand for nine months in 2001/2002.
I had a four-month contract as an agency midwife, at a small and friendly maternity unit in Gisborne, on the east coast of the North Island. The remainder of the time, apart from five weeks with my amazing parents who came to visit and play, I was able to reflect on my life; my hopes and dreams.
I read Clarissa Pinkola Estes sensational book ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves‘, and had some incredible insights. I’d never had such a ‘self’ish time – I mostly adored it, but was also very challenged being with ME.
Returning to England in the summer of 2002, I soon resumed the speed-driven pace of life which appears to be inherent in British society, and allowed my ‘self ‘to be eaten up once more by my passion for changing the world of midwifery for the better.
I gained a prestigious post with the Department of Health, leading a midwifery recruitment and retention project, which basically entailed having almost no other life – but succeeded in raising the profile of midwifery and its R & R challenges – for a short time! But at what cost …
Fast forward (pun intended) three years from that period, and I was back in New Zealand, working part-time, though still in a senior post. I read ‘In Praise of Slow‘ by Carl Honore, and something ‘clicked’ inside me. Carl’s description of ‘the cult of speed’ rang so many bells for me.
I knew I’d succumbed to it so many times and on so many levels – and really wanted to get off the merry-go-round and have more life in my life.
By being busy all the time, we may be avoiding (consciously or not) being with our ‘selves’, and with those people who are important to us. One day we, and they, will no longer be here. And it’s highly unlikely that you’ll wish, on your death-bed, you’d gained another promotion, or saved (rather than spent on yourself) more money to leave for your family to squander.
The health risks of ‘busy’ness
This phenomenon of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, is creating health problems for women. Reading the fascinating book ‘Rushing Women’s Syndrome‘ by Dr Libby Weaver, I understood more fully how we affect our health by this culture of speed.
When we’re rushing around, our body interprets this as ‘stress’, and releases Adrenaline. The body thinks your life is in danger, and prepares itself for ‘fight or flight’.
But we rarely need to run away from a tiger, so we confuse our nervous system which burns sugar rather than fat.
How often do you reach for a sugary snack during the day? Dr Weaver alarmingly suggests that the cellulite on your thighs is caused by the mobilisation of glycogen out of the muscles – due to stress.
There’s so much more around this subject if you want to delve further, – check our ‘Dr Libby’ on Facebook …
The SLoW Coach
As a fairly new Life Coach, I’m still defining my ‘niche’ market – who are the people I resonate the most with and can support?
One of my passions as a coach is obviously around looking at the balance of people’s lives, and working with them to see how they can ‘slow down’ a little (or a lot) to reflect and change what aspects aren’t working as well as they’d like.
I recall having a silver belt buckle designed (by one of my beautiful and talented sisters) and made when I was a nurse. My initials at that time were S.L.O., and they figured on the middle of the buckle which I still have and treasure.
I recently realised, that although I reverted to my maiden name over twenty years ago, my full name really does now spell out SLoW – Sandra Louise Walsh!
So maybe this is leading me towards where my expertise could be focussed in the future?
Shall I be ‘The Slow Coach? It’s certainly a new way of being for me, and it’s enriching my life in so many ways.
I challenge you to slow down a little whenever you can, get to know your self better, and make the magical moments of life last longer!
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.”
–John De Paola