Finding Your Zen: The Power of Slowing Down
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
A Change In Perspective
After many years of being in constant 'manic mode' juggling family, work and having daily lists so long, that they would require a month to complete, leaving me overwhelmed and feeling like I was failing every day, I knew something needed to change. Sound familiar?
This year, unlike previous New Year's Resolutions (which were basically very long 'to do' lists) it was simple: slow down and take time to enjoy life. Stop planning years into the future; be present in the day I'm experiencing right now. Take real pleasure in the simple things in life. Try and find comedy in everything (this really helps!) Lists now looked 'doable' and I promised myself I would invest considerable time in staying healthy and being calm, particularly in dealing with the inevitable, annoying, frustrating things that happen every day. I would focus on seeking out my Zen.
Finding My Zen in Everyday Moments
A yoghurt pot that someone I had been put in the fridge balanced on a bunch of beetroot, couldn't cope with the fridge wobble when being opened and a nearly full tub of yoghurt flew out of the fridge (definitely also spinning..) spreading its entire contents over every surface, every cupboard, the floor, myself and the dog. I immediately employed my new Zen (and finding comedy in everything) and asked the dog to lick all surfaces he could reach. I dealt with all the areas above that. 20 minutes out of my day - but I turned it into a kitchen cleaning session, so a bit of a win. The dog was very happy, as he had a probiotic snack in addition to his breakfast. A few years ago, it would have nearly ruined my morning, with a fair amount of bad language, blame and grumpiness to add to the family's day too.
Prioritising Time for Mindfulness and Reflection
One of the key components of finding my Zen has been making a conscious effort to walk for at least 30-60 minutes a day. During these walks, I take the time to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature, watching the lambs mob-charge their mothers in the field, parent birds collecting food for their ever burgeoning chicks, to the serene beauty of new growth and colour in the trees. These moments of stillness not only provide me with much-needed relaxation but also help me think more clearly, allowing me to approach my work and daily tasks with a greater sense of organisation and happiness.
Discovering Zen in New Experiences
While we were away in Nepal, I found myself relying on my new found Zen mindset to navigate the challenges of a constantly changing landscape of language, situations and business decisions.
In Pokhara, I sat in the early morning on a terrace overlooking Fewa Lake in the main town, with its emerging life below. In the trees across the road, I watched one of the most fascinating interactions I have seen between birds. Two Rose-Ringed Parakeets were getting amorous. If you live in South East England, I know these birds are numerous, and maybe some of you have witnessed this display, so excuse the excitement. The delicate courtship was so beautiful. The male spent so much time showing off his wings and tail, and how he could be shy, gentle, and adoring. After about 15 minutes of dancing, posturing, gentle nibbling, and bashful glances away from her, he did the deed, but instead of disappearing afterwards, he stayed with her, completing the courtship with multiple 'kisses', bashful looks away, more nibbling and kissing...
Gift of Stillness
This month, with the abundance of Bank Holiday weekends, consider giving yourself the gift of stillness. Take a moment to pause, be present, and watch the world around you. You might just find your Zen.
Loving Displays of Affection..
Look at my tail!
I know you were interested
How wonderful, just to enjoy the simple things in life.
Turn our disasters into positives
And realising that nature allows us,
Just to be.
This was so refreshing to read. Thank you.
“Every journey begins with the first step”
Enjoy yours – yoghurt and all……
Just loved your blog!
I love this – thank you – a great reminder to pause and enjoy the beauty around us – even amongst the chaos. I’ve found myself hearing, pausing and listening to the bird song over the last couple of weeks and it’s beautiful and uplifting – something so simple and enjoyable but easy to miss when we’re rushing.
Just reading your article has afforded me some much needed peacefulness! Thank you