It’s a dissatisfying way to go about a beautiful morning but I resist slowing down.
Pouring tea water while heating the pan for eggs and checking my phone. Moving between the kitchen table, frying pan and sink with speed, picking up and putting down with impatience.
Being efficient multitasking is addictive. Acting on the restless feeling of not being quite where you need to be.
The reasons we don’t slow down are many and varied.
Running away from emotions, feeling behind, wanting to be productive. Pushing through tiredness.
The Inherent Pace
Whatever the reason, when I notice myself doing it I return to something I call the inherent pace.
It seems to be a very defined pace of movement my body favours. What it slows down to when I give it free reins. I perceive it as slow (what will people think?) and it’s a challenge to stay in it, initially.
It takes some courage to ‘take your time’.
We say it but often don’t mean it. Claiming our own time feels indulgent, like depriving something or someone else. The things we could have done with the time saved.
But what you do with the time you afford yourself now, is something beautiful.
An experience of calm, delight, gratitude. The world seems softer. Opening up to it and giving more of yourself happens naturally.
When We Starve Ourselves of Deep Experience
When we skim over the surface of experiences it’s like running on empty calories. We crave nutrients.
We long for more richness, more detail, more sensation.
Children can be completely absorbed in sensation - sand slipping through fingers, sunshine flickering through leaves, rhythmic sounds.
The satisfying flick of a light switch - the pressure under the fingertip, the yielding movement, the click, the appearance of light. It’s miraculous really!
But as adults the experience becomes a tedious routine we go through with impatience, if we’re aware of it at all.
Going faster seems valid, getting to something more satisfying sooner. Filling the emptiness with more movement.
But it’s about depth, not distance.
The good news is it’s right there. Just below the surface. In a moment an experience can go from bland to abundant.
So how can you reach it?
How to Find Your Inherent Pace
All it takes to find your own unique pace is exploring what feels right. It’s something inherent, something your body knows well. It has a definite preference and will tell you when you’re close.
Slow down your walking, the movement of your hands, turning from one task to another. Just experiment with the pace.
Going from exceedingly slow to your normal speed, and back again. Eventually you’ll find yourself drawn to a particular pace.
There’s a sweet spot where suddenly sensations come into focus.
The softness of clothes skimming your skin. Moving your limbs becomes a sensual delight. Smells, sounds and taste are more intense.
Genuine pleasure - the body’s signal that we’re doing something it desires - floods in.
Benefits of Moving in Your Pace
It’s likely you’ll spontaneously experience some of the following:
- Naturally moving more mindfully
- More deliberateness in your actions
- Handling objects with more appreciation
- Seeing beauty in the mundane
- Feeling more graceful
- A sense of softness and gratitude
- Delight, in the constant sensual pleasures of daily life
Obstacles to Staying in the Pace
Resistances are likely to come up too and at first it can feel uncomfortable.
Just let them come and include that in the experience.
The drive to speed up and skim over will still be there and without awareness the pattern will resurface. Be aware of it and accept the fact, not letting it get in your way.
Just return when you remember.
Moving at your pace is likely more challenging in the company of others. Exploring it on your own until it becomes second nature can help.
Once you’ve found it - or rediscovered it - it’s easier to spot when you leave it.
You may even find yourself longing for it.
Overcoming the resistances begins to feel worth it.
Returning to it happens sooner.
Our bodies know this pace and will prefer it, so the more often you return the more your body will ask for it.
Opening your senses becomes more natural in this pace. Explore them if you like. Roam around the experience and find more sensations.
The smooth texture and grounding weight, holding a soup bowl. The softness and strength in your hips, walking purposefully.
See if it rubs off on your thinking. Whether rushing from thought to thought slows down too.
But mainly, find the joy in it. The inherent delight.
Find your unique pace for the moments of your life.