slowing down to do more

I love to cram a ton of activities in my life. A good day for me back-to-back events on a weekend, or 6 meetups with different people– casual conversations over coffee, mind you, not working meetings with an agenda. [cf. extreme punctuality; when Karen Sloan left my meetup early for another]

But, my body can’t keep up. Much as I love activities, and innovative ideas for change, my psyche and emotions hasn’t been able to track with it all. This smacked me up the back of my hard when I moved cross country from DC to OC. Every 5 years or so, I have this tendency to use a stress chart like a checklist.

For the sake of my psychological well-being and health, I’m slowing down so I can do more. Just a tad. Not more in a quantitative way but in a qualitative way that’s more wholistically healthier for me.

Instead of frenetically rushing from one event to the next, I’ll consciously slow down– drive slower, walk slower, pause, sit still. A moment or a couple of minutes here and there.

In so doing, here’s what I’m learning:

  • better ability to focus. While I’m (still) very attracted to stimulus with my overactive “input” strengthsfinder theme, slowing down gets me to focus on one thing, drill down on the topic at hand, get something done with less hyper-active multi-tasking.
  • less fear of solitude. I used to hate being alone; you might say I’m an introvert who hates being alone. Something happened in the past couple months, where I think God’s freed me up from fearing solitude. Contributing factors: A part of it from reading The Shack. Meaningful soul conversations. My mind has (somewhat) reframed my fear of abandonment, and my heart awakened to more of God being my constant companion. Now, I don’t love being alone, and I can’t home office solo all day, but the paralyzing fear is (mostly) gone. For that I say Hallelujah and thank God profusely.
  • feelings don’t control me (as much). I’m more able to make a conscious choice and decide on my action or inaction. Less knee-jerk reactions or impulsiveness. I’m even holding off an iPhone upgrade to stave off instant gratification. Mind you, I’m not a strong-willed guy.
  • recovering my spiritual life. Be still and know God. Hearing from God again. Takes me 20 to 30 minutes to quiet down. Gaining insights into my heart and soul, healing, personal growth, give myself away, confessing my idols.

* Caveat: It’s not that I want to accomplish more goals per se — goals and results are important, but I don’t have a list of life goals (cf. Mark Batterson) or a bucket list. What I do want, and what gets me up in the morning, is [intangible] life experiences: enjoying relationships with friends and family, connecting people and resources, travelling to places (gotta go more internationally in my next season), meeting up with more people, eating at foodie spots, find the next great web app, helping people, dreaming of possibilities.

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2 Responses

  1. Winnetta Byford says:

    Great ideas! Need to implement some of these in my life. On Friday at our All Hands company-wide meeting, we turned down the lights and our CEO had us just be quiet for 5 minutes. Amazing! Then he asked when was the last time any of us did that. All I did was clear my mind and just listen for God. What a cleansing experience.

  2. Joanna says:

    Parenting a child with Asperger's was a huge wake up call to me to slow down. And what I have discovered is that not only was going too fast hard on me, it was diminishing my ability to connect meaningfully with others. Not everyone's mind runs as fast as mine. I'm still learning but intentional slowing as well as intentional silence are incredible practices.