At points in my life, I have been a Speed Queen. I used to wish that I had taken shorthand and speed reading. I have been cursed to eat too fast since attending college. Given a bit of caffeine, I talk too fast. While shopping or dog walking, my husband has asked me to “slow down.” I usually maintain a car speed of 5 miles over the limit. I turn the stove burners on high. I love recording my TV shows and zipping through commercials. Let’s get to the important stuff.
Learning Tai Chi
This week I attended a Tai Chi class at a local community center. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese exercise practice that is very slow and graceful. I have wanted to try this for some time. No mats or equipment are needed for this kind of exercise. No pressure on the hands or laying on the floor. And no racing heart or red face. My only fears were about how uncoordinated I might appear during my learning curve and my own challenges with mirroring instructions for “left” or “right.”( My spouse proclaims that women are more directionally challenged than men).
I have attended two classes now, where I chose to stay toward the back of the room so that my example is not leading anyone astray. On the first day, I was amazed at how much sweat one can attain by slow movements. I could feel the heat building internally. The next day I had sore muscles. Today, I discovered that I was starting to enjoy moving my body. It actually feels good to stretch and bend. Other classmates are as confused as me about doing proper movements. We are just trying to do something good for ourselves without breaking any records.
Tai Chi is one way that I have been trying to teach myself the blessings of slowing down. I don’t have to do Zumba or Jazzercise to get health benefits. Perhaps you have heard of the slow food movement — buying locally grown food, preparing it at home, and actually cooking. Some folks go so far as to prepare with very little heat or to eat raw food. That definitely slows down the eating process!
So I’m officially part of the “slow movement.” When you do life a little more slowly, it gives you the opportunity to notice: breath, colors, textures, sounds, flavors, birds, sunsets, babies, and perhaps, the voice of God. Savoring moments like the best chocolate or curry, or lingering over the smell of lemon blossoms.
Maybe the goal isn’t about getting to the end, finishing, or the next big thing.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. What rushed moments in life do you wish you could slowly repeat? What did you miss?
2. Do one of your usual activities very slow today: brushing teeth, petting the cat, making a cup a tea, reading a paragraph. Write about what you noticed.
Karen Spruill writes from Orlando, Florida.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.