Slooooooow Down

There’s this little voice inside of my head. I hear it whisper to me with some regularity. Truth be told, I actively watch myself tell it to “shut the **** up” more often than I might like to admit. Until it gets louder … and louder still. It’s the voice which invites me to sloooooow down! Sometimes, it has to work rather hard to be heard. Until it gets so loud that I have no choice but to acknowledge it. This was the case last week.

Getting sick just as the warmer weather decided to consistently grace us with its presence was definitely not very high on my to-do’s list. In fact, for several days I decided that I was, in fact, not getting sick. Over the weekend my boyfriend commented upon how I sounded terrible and asked how I was feeling. I responded by saying “Oh I’m fine, it feels as if I’m fighting something, but don’t worry …. I’m winning!” He gently suggested that this might not be the best approach. And still, I pressed onward. This continued for a few days. It wasn’t until Tuesday that I realized I might have to acknowledge I was not well. During my afternoon yoga class my students asked me if I wanted to cut class short on account of a rather intense bout of coughing.

I was embarrassed. And, I was ashamed. Ashamed that I had been trying to ignore my body’s signs/symptoms for days. I was, in fact, sick. This realization was a tough one to wrap my head, and perhaps more importantly, my heart around. You see, I don’t customarily get sick. I’d like to think that I am pretty in-tune with when I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I strive to honor my body’s need for rest. I do my best to fuel and hydrate myself in a way which will provide my body with optimal nourishment. I am conscious of moving my body with regularity offering it a balance of aerobic, strengthening and stretching. My goal is to maintain balance.

This sickness, which has been subtly lingering on for about a week now, has afforded me the opportunity to notice my resistance to slowing down. Even amidst sickness my tendency to go-go-go has wanted to rear its’ head. On the day which I cancelled all of my clients and teaching obligations (with reluctance), I found myself wanting to default to the aforementioned to-do’s list: to work on my newsletter, to catch up on emails, to balance my check-book, to do a gentle youtube yoga class, even to clean my kitchen floor. All things which tend to fall to the bottom of said to-do’s list. Yet, clearly not things which would serve me at a time when body was truly craving R/R. Reflecting upon this experience has led me to the realization that perhaps that I can stand to improve upon the degree to which I maintain balance in my life.

Of late, I have felt more and more drawn to the gentler practices of restorative and/or yin yoga. I immediately watch myself want to judge this … isn’t that “lazy” yoga?! Maybe so. Or, maybe not! The truth is that a slower approach to the practice which incorporates long holds in postures can be downright uncomfortable – both for the physical body, as well as the mental endurance. One of my most impactful teachers says, “Growth begins at the point of the pose when we begin to notice discomfort.” I believe that this is true when speaking of the yoga practice as well as of life’s experiences which take place off of the mat, too. It goes against my nature to sloooooooow down! If left to my own devices, I seem to default to the go-go-go mentality.

My belief is that this is actually why life has led me to the practices of yoga and meditation. The mindfulness which results from these practices is what allows me to notice my habits. It provides me with an opportunity to do so without judgement. Rather than judging, I can embrace change. And so that is what I am choosing to do.

I am striving to be gentle with myself as I return fully back to wellness. I am often checking in with myself … “Josette, are you caring for YOU in a loving way – much the same as you might love, care for, and nurture a client or loved one recovering from an illness?!” I am noticing my resistances, stretching my comfort zone, and striving to listen that subtle (or not so subtle voice) which encourages me to sloooooooow down!

I am wondering how/if a similar voice might show up for you? And, how you may or may not be aware of fighting it, too. I invite you to notice this with me. Perhaps you may similarly choose to stretch your comfort zone and welcome a newfound refreshing sense of balance into your life!

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