Note: This is a guest post from Danae Smith of This Wondrous Life.
It was my lunch break in the summer of 2014. I was sitting by a fountain in Washington, D.C., when I realized how I was simply existing, but not fully engaging with my life.
I was working a job I needed, but didn’t love. I’d bought into the glorification of hustling and busyness. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.
The idea to choose to live simply, slowly, and connected felt elusive and unproductive. But, I knew it was a path I needed to take for me to fully show up wholeheartedly to the world before me. So, I began this pursuit to live a more slow and simple life.
It didn’t happen overnight. It’s a daily journey of choosing to lean into each moment before me. There are two keys that have helped me on this journey that I hope can help you:
Key 1: Being Present
Our attention is constantly pulled. Whether it’s the daily responsibilities and tasks we manage or mindless scrolling through social media, our attention is always being wooed from one thing to the next.
When starting to live slow, I knew I needed to learn to be present.
Being present requires intentionality and effort. It also doesn’t look one way. For me, it has looked like taking the extra effort to make full eye contact when a loved one is sharing with me rather than multitasking on my phone. However, it can look like putting your phone on do-not-disturb during dinner; or it can look like being acutely aware of your surroundings and the sensations you may see, feel, hear, or even taste, taking mental notes of them.
I have found in being present, there is so much color to the mundanity of daily life. There is beauty and purpose in every moment and encounter.
Key 2: Getting Grounded
Develop and build a daily ritual or routine that allows you to connect with yourself.
It can be 5 minutes or 30 minutes. Do what feels natural for you. It’s not about quantity versus quality.
The goal of a daily ritual or routine isn’t to do more stuff, but to do what matters. It’s dedicating time to catch your breath, to ground yourself in gratitude and mindfulness.
While building your daily routine, fill it with things that help you stay connected and centered. For me, it often looks like making a cup of coffee first thing and enjoying it. But for you, it could be stretching or running. It could be getting up before everyone else and sitting in silence.
Whatever it may be, having a set time each day where you ground and center yourself helps in this journey of living slowly and connected.
As you choose a journey of slow and simple living, I encourage you to be gracious with yourself.
Life is a process and nothing happens overnight. There are valleys and mountaintops; twists and turns. Choosing to live slowly and connected goes against the grain of culture and society. Some days will be easy breezy. Other days will prove more difficult.
Nevertheless, keep choosing slowness. Keep choosing simplicity and connection; and be gracious with yourself and your process.
Danae Smith is the founder of This Wondrous Life, a lifestyle blog, rooted in pursuing a life lived simply, slowly, and with community. Her words are beautiful. You can also find her on Instagram.
Jump just do it !!
I am 70 years old. Fifty years ago I had less of everything than anyone I knew. We never got china or silver for our wedding. I got a lot of used stuff. We raised the kids the same way. Learn to separate needs from wants and travel light.
T. Skinner says
Earth itself is spinning
1000 miles per hour yet
We are not being flung into space
Physics demands and
The creator commands
Not to spend our life
In a perpetual
Stop and smell earths fragrances
Look at your companions
In their face
And if your really in a hurry
Then get your dog
Your child, or children
And play a game of chase
In the end and when
It mostly matters and
Through our creators grace
We won’t be dead and buried
We”ll be grounded
In our spiritual place
the three first lines is just so true. Thank you for sharing?
Can you give some examples and how to start?
l Vogel says
What has helped me to stay present is using a mantra (otherwise positive affirmation) and when I refer to this it takes me right be to present where I ought to be. I know that it is set on autopilot but steady and slow or deep breathing absolutely help tremendously to release tension too and to let them go. :0)
Sue Rubincan says
I am just at the beginning of my journey to live slower and be more connected. I thought I was doing a good job of it until COVID hit and I had to spend 3 months at home. It really opened my eyes as to how disconnected from living slowly and being connected I really was. I took full advantage of the time to start looking at how I want to live and am starting to do things that fit into it. Being present is the hardest for me as I have become too attached to my electronics.
The Danes have it down and call it Hygge (hoo-ga).
Torrie @ To Love and To Learn says
I started taking a picture a day when my oldest was first born and have continued to take a picture of each of my three children every day of their lives. Not only does it help me to be more present and to help me soak up all the wonderful things about each stage, but it also makes me more present even when I don’t have the camera in my hand because I notice the beauty everywhere—almost as if I were going to try and take a picture of it.
Susanna Heiskanen says
When starting to live slow, I knew I needed to learn to be present. That really hit the soul to me. I have noticed from myself that I need to center myself when i started taking it more slow. Closing mind to all the busyness and just listening from within.