Saturday, August 20, 2011

why can't we just slow down?


I am breathing. I know that I am breathing in.
My first Acroyoga jam in Houston since my return from Thailand and found myself stumbling a bit for words and a tad clumsy (jet lag, amongst other things are keeping my sleep at a minimum). I'm sure no one noticed, except that I said, "divide up in pairs of 3" a few times. (That was a fun one to figure out.) Keeping it basic for those who were new and adding a few challenges for those who were repeaters, we also did a bit of Thai massage at the the end which seemed to be well "received".  A few folks probably found even the simplest poses hard due to tight hamstrings or lack of strength.  However, I think some were hungry for more. In my heart, I kept thinking that what they really needed was to just slow down. The beauty in Acroyoga is the preciseness of the postures in order to maintain safety and build trust with your partner. Then, with time, the skills grow and build upon each other like layers of the earth making even the hardest postures smooth because they begin with perfecting the foundation. Why not slow down and just lovingly hold your partner in therapeutic folded leaf for several minutes and gently massage their shoulders? Sometimes, that's all someone needs to feel a release. We don't have to do more, better, faster, and cooler tricks. It's a blast but really, what's the rush?
"These days even instant gratification takes too long." Time is feels "circular in Southeast Asia, as if we have all the time in the world, while time feels linear in the US as we cram more and more into less and less time."
When I teach Thai massage to partners, I have them repeat "I am breathing, I know that I am breathing in" in order to keep their mind focused on giving to the person right in front of them rather than letting their thoughts to jump around and move back or forward in time. The person you're with can feel if you are present with them, giving them a nurturing touch or if you're just going through the motions and allowing thoughts to boomerang from what's for dinner to negative self talk. When I can pursue a clear and open heart, focusing on slowing down, and enjoying giving to someone else, the experience is well, it's joyful. And, comes from a place that feels real and whole.
Carl Honore gives a talk on TED that explores the paradox of how we desire to slow down and because we want to consume more, we end up living in fast forward rather than slow motion. Ironically, he speaks way too fast. Perhaps he's nervous. Or, maybe he should use the breath to just slow it down.


"It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available—more than enough for you to be happy right now. You don't have to run into the future in order to get more."


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