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By Michael Doko Hatchett
Let me remind you of another little practice that is no small thing: slowing down. This is the moment of mindfulness - the slowing down, the stopping - that comes before we remember to exhale (ahhhh). This moment of stopping, is the time to give warmth, patience and kindness to what is going on.
I'm not about to rave on about what slowing down is. To do so would complicate the simplest, sweetest taste around. All I want to say today is: "Hey friend....slow down".
What happens when we do...?
We wake up, get the kids ready for school, pack lunches, remember what we need to take to the office that day...."Hurry up kids, we'll be late"... We put our shoes on at the front door... all the while an ancient energy is pushing us....."Hurry, hurry" is being whispered in our ear... we walk outside, and bang... the smell of the crisp morning air enters us. It causes us to 'stop'. We smile, stand completely still, straighten our spine and breathe one breath deeply... with feeling... for just ten seconds. We are HERE NOW....much more capable of saying....(as Paul and his mate Art said):
what cha knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing....
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Life, I love you.
All is groovy."
Stopping to allow little letting go's in the present moment, is the basis of the skill-set needed to understand ourselves and the suffering we create. Letting go of this morning's story, this morning's judgement, this morning's unnoticed pace, this morning's self-construction project and how things 'should be'.
From these steady, committed fuss-free beginnings on our front lawn, finer and finer layers of where and how we are clinging and creating unnecessary pain are seen and attended to.
To willingly slow down our minds, hearts, and yes, also our feet, shows us that we are very much capable of 'being with' what is in front of our eyes and hearts without hurry, panic, despair or the overlay of a blinding story. What we see in ourselves by stopping and being with the morning's flowers, or walking a little slower to the car, is what we need to be with our 'harder' feelings and allow the transformation of the fear and hopelessness that so often surrounds them. By slowing down we see, we remember, what we can give our feelings of loneliness, our feelings of worry, our feelings of being misunderstood by loved ones.
A friend said to me after a mindfulness retreat: "After the retreat I noticed I was moving a little slower, I walked over between the kitchen and lounge-room and picked up some clothes. I realised I was going a little slower and I wept... realising the power I had inside me to change my life and how much I have been ignoring it".
Bye for now,