Slowing down was a goal I had for December. I wanted to tune in to the season, to the longer nights, shorter days, to the slowed movement of nature as animals go to ground to wait for warmer weather.
I managed it, for most of the month.
I took the month away from teaching yoga, and, once I finished semester grading, I turned on my out-of-office reply on my email and I haven’t logged in since.
I settled in to read and rest and write.
I also made a lengthy to-do list, thinking, somehow, that this “slow December” had endless hours to get to all the tasks I was too caught up in work, or too burned out from work, to do during the semester.
As I wrote in my last post, I didn’t get through the list. I hardly put a dent in it. I find it amusing that, in my slow December, I still didn’t know how to make a winter break to-do list that was manageable.
Part of it was excitement to tackle some creative projects I’d been waiting for headspace and time to complete. Part of it was feeling inadequate for not keeping up with adjunct work and my fledgling business more effectively. Part of it, too, was getting caught up in the hustle of the holiday season, and feeling that pressure to be busy.
As I am easing back into a routine after the hush of my self-selected holiday isolation, I’m reminding myself again, to go slow.
I’ve been doing Yoga With Adriene’s 30-day series that she always releases in January. This one is called “Center.” I’m back to teaching yoga at Sweetgrass Therapeutics, and sat down to spend some time planning my first class of the month. I decided, instead of pushing hard once I got back on the mat with my students, that I would take it slow and easy. It’s typical for classes after the New Year to really focus in on “hitting it hard” and diving into the challenge. It’s typically what I do when I start a new thing: All or nothing! Go big, or go home!
Lately, I much prefer the idea of going home.
I’m exploring what it means to accept “some” as a comfortable place between the extremes of abundance and scarcity.
Adriene’s 30-Day series always starts slow. It starts simple. It used to madden me (I’ll admit it still does, sometimes).
This year, though, I’m ready to listen.
All around me, the messages are telling me to slow down. To listen. To pause. Chani Nicholas, the astrologer, said that the Mercury and Mars retrogrades were telling us not to rush into this new year. She said to pause and assess and listen.
My body asked me to slow down, to rest, when I slept through my alarm morning after morning while on my break. My cat asked me to slow down when she would meow at me until I placed a blanket in my lap, and settled in for hours with a book.*
And my heart and spirit asked me to slow down, too. To wait. To rest. To listen. To find quiet. To discover my own rhythm.
One of the reasons I have not sought out full-time employment since leaving higher education was the desire to move and work at my own pace. Keeping one foot in the door of the college has interrupted my ability to explore that rhythm, and these last three weeks of break have allowed me to remember that intention, and given me the space to tune out some of the noise and hear my own heart.
Go slow. You don’t know what you’re missing when you rush.
*we all know that it is forbidden to move a sleeping cat.