What If We Slowed Down?
“An unhurried sense of time is in itself a sort of wealth.” ~ Bonnie Friedman
On some days, I feel less and less comfortable with what I may call our civilization’s trend of always doing more.
We have been taught, since we were children, some rules and recipes about life.
What I love about traveling, and mostly spending lifespans abroad, is that it makes us go past our initial background. Going out of our former cultural boxes is painful, but it does teach us a lot.
When getting somewhere new, we can’t be sure of whether we’ll manage to adapt. But at the very least, we’ll experience, see and discover what it means to be a human being on the other side of the world.
Our mind therefore progressively includes different kinds of components — some still come from the place in which we grew up, some are new and will be the memory of what we’ve kept from elsewhere.
After that, we’ve got to sort things out, and decide what’s truly ours among what we’ve been given the chance to see and experience.
Which parts, which chapters, which ways of thinking, which cultural pieces, from all what we’ve seen, should we decide to keep and turn into our own life principles?
Today I’m writing from Cambodia. This nation has taught me a lot since I first had the chance to come here.
Being here made me question a few significant life principles I had never challenged before. I had taken them for granted.
We’ve been taught to always do. To always be as active as possible. To make our time as productive, profitable, as possible. If we aren’t at work — which in the end hardly ever happens in our current society — we’re supposed to be somewhere for a reason. We never see friends, and say, “Hey, let’s spend time together just being alive and breathing the same air while smiling.”
What we’re expected to do is to never waste time. Time is money, isn’t it?
I used to like the vibrant tube stations of cities like London and Paris. People run to go to work. At the end of the day, they will run to go back home, before getting in a rush there to make sure everything has been done well. That the whole to-do list of the day has been completed.
When I go back from Cambodia, this always scares me.
Putting an insane pressure on our heads, our modern way of life prevents us from living in the moment. We tend to focus our energies on being busy, and on planning what we’ll get busy with after that.
We’re not responsible for that trend. But we could try and see if another way around exists.
Our journeys may not be about filling up our days with countless actions, answers or solutions. Our hours are not about making sure we’ve made our time profitable enough.
Or if we used it as much and as fast as we could. Our days could be about living. Mostly, about becoming. About doing and learning, at our own rhythm.
Sometimes, days are simply about opening up our eyes and seeing how beautiful things are around. To just lie down with ourselves, listen to our feelings and emotions. Instead of worrying about or expecting from tomorrow, simply being present where we are and grateful for being part of that moment.
Occasionally, our main success of the day is to figure out how strong we’ve been to get where we stand now. To be grateful, and perhaps a little bit proud of ourselves for all that has already been done or achieved.
Sometimes, it will be about rediscovering how filled with magic and synchronicity our journeys may be, when we follow what the intuition whispers in our ears, and keep faith in our hearts.
Mostly, days are about creating and putting in music, gently, the puzzle of ourselves.
Time isn’t a list of everything I must do if I want to be at peace. Time isn’t a contract of the I will be.
At the end of the day, we have done this or that. This or nothing. We have failed or achieved in doing what was planned. We have stumbled, or walked with our heads high.
At the end of the day, the results of today don’t matter that much. They aren’t our core. The story is still to be written tomorrow, and will always be. Sunsets are the mothers of dawns, aren’t they?
We got on board, and now our life is moving. It is on, with ourselves inside. And we’ll gently go on the merry-go-round, to savor life’s endless repetition of time. However profitable or not, useful or not, as good as planned or not, it may eventually be.
What if the best was to be expected from letting go, from gently keeping our eyes and minds open to what life has to show and from embracing what was not expected?
Sophie Gregoire is a thinker. You may often find her with a new idea or a new concept to explain, holding a notebook and pencil. Also found reading and writing, she is more than anything an independent soul. She enjoys traveling and getting lost in new places, namely in Asia. She says it helps understanding our worlds, its people and the humankind. She loves writing to transform her endless thoughts into some kind of reality, and to keep the little piece of sanity she still has. She savors coffee, encounters, Yoga and meditation, and cats… while her own cat is her greatest muse! You could contact Sophie via Facebook and on her writing page.