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March 12, 2019

It’s Okay to Slow Down. It’s Okay to Rest.

 

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I’m so tired today.

My body itself seems to ache, though my mind pulses on with the constant hum of thoughts and ideas, the distant imprint of my to-do list, and all the ways life can seem so overwhelming.

Sometimes, I think do everything backward. Maybe we all do. I rush around and try to get everything done as quickly as possible—thinking that this will bring me joy, pleasure, wholeness, love, freedom, serenity.

I think that going faster is better, more is better. I get all buzzy, frantic, and tense, and think that pushing through is what makes me strong.

But…I forget that I don’t have to leave myself to be in my life. I don’t have to go at a breakneck pace to be valuable or productive. And sometimes, I don’t—gasp!—need to be productive at all.

I don’t need to exist in fight-or-flight mode.

There is room to expand out and find a new sense of spaciousness. There is a way to enjoy life that doesn’t feel so exhausting.

Yes, even if our life is busy. Hard. Messy. Not perfect.

Oh, I want to peel off the layers of our fear and rushing and restlessness and get to the core of what’s underneath:

Our tenderness.

Our souls.

Our hearts.

Who we really, truly are—when there are no expectations and no one is looking.

When we are just…being.

What a bold thing indeed.

And I know how much I long for that being-ness, maybe we all do. We thirst for rest, for not-doing, for the palpable knowing that we are enough in a world that is always telling us to do more and be more.

So when I find myself spinning around like a top, and yes, this happens weekly—I love when I remember even for a millisecond that I don’t have to go about things like that, no matter how much I think I need to do.

I can slow down.

I can find my breath. I can find my body. I can locate myself. I can sense something other than stress.

There is…stillness.

It’s there in spades—a slow, gurgling current—even on a busy day.

And if I could tell you one thing, it would be this:

It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to rest.

It’s not weak. It’s not a failure. Or a luxury. It’s a beautiful necessity.

And it really is okay, wonderful and healing—delicious, in fact.

To do things at half-speed. To breathe with more pleasure. To experience what an inhale really is, what an exhale feels like. To drink your tea and be enamored with the herbaceous aroma. To kiss your lover and taste all the love they have for you pouring out of their lips like honey.

It’s not a waste of time. It’s not frivolous or ridiculous.

It’s nourishing, nurturing, fulfilling, and inspiring.

It’s okay to listen to our bodies, to stop when we need to stop, to rest when we need to rest. We don’t always need to push through.

It’s okay to pause and feel, viscerally, what we’re feeling: the pulse of anger, the flutter of anxiety, the heaviness of exhaustion or sadness.

Let us return to the wisdom of our bodies.

And not just reside in our minds.

Our minds are great, but they can be so…well, busy and buzzy and active, analyzing and looking ahead.

But our bodies, our sweet and precious bodies—

They are here now.

They keep us in reality.

They draw us back to something simpler, something primal.

They point us toward pleasure, toward our needs, our impulses, toward deep currents of ancient wisdom.

They can help us regulate our emotions, manage our stress, and learn the tender art of slowing down.

So, I believe that it’s not just mindfulness. It’s not just heartfulness. It’s bodyfulness, too.

‘Cause it’s not just about having ideals or ideas or lovely self-care things we want to do someday—it’s about embodying them.

It’s about embodying ourselves.

In this way, we birth things—and ourselves—into the sweet grasp of reality. Into the flesh and bone experience of now.

So slip back into that body of yours. Oh, yes—and it can be so pleasurable to listen to what your body needs, wants, speaks, craves, feels.

It can feel oddly intimate and moving.

And it’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to rest. Really.

So I dare you, just for today—or heck, just for five minutes—to close your eyes and be. To engage your senses. To get really cozy with a soft blanket. To smell the hazelnut perfume of your coffee with every cell of your being. To taste the saltiness of a tear as it drips down your cheek. Rub your hands together and feel the warmth or coolness of your own skin. Feel your fingers moving as you type up a report. Hear the rain beating on the roof as you do your work.

Feel the way your body supports you—and bask in that.

Awaken to the experience of your body.

Respect it.

Feel the safety of it.

And slow down…gently.

So

Gently.

See all the beauty that was there—all the sweetness that was blurry when you were going a thousand miles an hour.

See the crystal-clear aliveness, the freedom that dances when you are still.

And I know, dear friend, that the world moves so fast, and you can’t always keep up, and that’s okay—you don’t need to.

It’s okay to slow down.

It’s okay to rest.

It’s so boldly nourishing.

~

author: Sarah Harvey

Image: @walkthetalkshow/Instagram

Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Pam Saarinen Apr 30, 2019 5:24am

I find myself coming back to read this article weekly; It is lovely & strengthens me.

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Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey resides in the mysterious mountains of western North Carolina. Through the journey of healing her own trauma and pain, she has found power in poetry, art, and dance. She loves supporting people to step into their power, find their voices, and flourish. She believes in resilience. She believes that sometimes, our darkest days lead to the most unexpected, breathless joy. She currently offers life coaching sessions and is pursuing her Masters in Counseling. She feels passionate about supporting sensitive souls with a grounded, creative, and gentle approach.  Follow Sarah on Facebook and her website!