There is something about those words, slowing down, that makes me think of old age. I am sure that it has been ingrained in me via media messages about aging, and I fight the thought when it comes to me. Yet at the same time there is truth that there is a sort of slowing down as one ages.
“The slowing of metabolism is a real thing. “The primary thing that seems to occur is that mitochondria in the cells slow down with age,” explains Christopher Newgard, director of the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center at Duke University Medical School.
A recent study out of Germany on the relation between age and brain function likened older people’s decline in cognitive speed to the functionality of older computer hard drives: As more information is uploaded to the brain over time it starts to slow down, in a similar way to how a hard drive with an overabundance of information is slower than a new hard drive.
See, there is evidence out there that we do slow down when we age, which causes worry and fear in many.
However, today’s post is really about needing to slow down.
Some of us have a tendency to rush through life, keeping busy, busy, busy so that, while we seem to accomplish a lot, we often miss more than we see.
Somewhere in my past I picked up this little voice in my head that can be quite persuasive. It says things like
“What are you doing sitting down? There are things to be done!”
“Work harder. Go faster. Do more.”
The other day in a yoga class, which is billed as “Gentle Yoga”, that voice popped up and said, “This class is for sissies, what are you doing here?”
I gently shut the voice down and carried on. After all, the message of this class was to take the time to listen and pay close attention to the body; to notice where there was tightness; where one struggled with poses; and then to focus on the breath to work with what you noticed, allowing the breath to lessen tension in the body.
As I worked on slowing down and focusing on very small things happening in my body while I moved through the poses, I was reminded of the mantra my husband recites when we go on bike rides and faced with a big hill to climb – “Slow and steady wins the race.”
When he says that the voice in my head responds with, “What, this is a race?! I didn’t know this was a race. Why didn’t anyone tell me it was a race? Let’s get moving – faster, faster.” But I shut the voice up when I’ve sped up the hill too quickly and about half way I am sucking wind so badly that I have to stop to breath before I can continue on. Then I fume silently as I watch my husband pedal past me, slow and steady, all the way to the top of the hill. Without stopping.
There are reminders in my life daily, providing me with opportunities to slow down, look around, see what I’ve never seen before. It is something I work on often, and over time I’ve noticed a second voice that speaks up more often now, reminding me to stay in the moment; to be present in all I do; to take the time to listen and to see. And so I do.