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.