Slow living and a lifestyle of rest is a heart issue. Yes, essentialism, rhythm, and scheduling are vital, but at the end of the day, it's about one's heart.
Oh sweet January, what a wonderful learning experience that you were. Y'all, I learned some things last month that will last me on my journey forever.
Beginning of January - Bliss.
The beginning of January was magical. The first two weeks were perhaps the best start to my year in YEARS. They were filled with me embracing me. We fasted & prayed - I got glowing clarity. My birthday was a weekend staycation with Mike that blew my socks off. I was so saturated with goodness that on Monday evening (MLK Jr Day) I began to subconsciously tame my happiness & dove into the negative thought pattern - "waiting for the other shoe to drop." I've read that this is linked to imposter syndrome.
End of January - Sickness
Well, unfortunately, I did not capture my thoughts and replace them with goodness. I let them spill out of my mouth - allowing my mind to descend deeper into anxiety and analysis. And just like that, I made myself sick. And guess, what? While all of this out-of-control thinking was happening - life was frankly good. My boys & hubby were healthy. My family was doing well. My friends were crushing life. Gather was thriving. My rhythm was the same - for the most part. But I was living and agonizing on the 85% of things that never happen.
"Let me reiterate, 97 % of the things we worry about either never happen, or we handle them and possibly learn something valuable in the process. Only 3 percent of the time did peoples’ worries prove well-founded. Only, 3%! I get better returns on my stock market investments than I get on my worries — and one of those worries is, ironically, the stock market." - Dr. Charles Black, 85% of What You Worry about Never Happens.And the news gets even better from there.
Febrauary - ReSet.
I feel so appreciative for that ridiculously confusing and inner-chaotic period. Why? Because it forced me to stop and realize how deeply slow-living and rest are "heart" lifestyles. I can get very caught up in actions, formulas, rituals, and rules. Slow-living videos and books are alluring and entice me to seek quiet moments, but without a heart & mind in a position of rest & peace - none of it matters. In fact, as I write this, I am feeling so emotionally recharged and aligned. Here are a few things (from Blue Zones centenarians) that I did to quiet my mind & release stress:
Okinawa: Get plenty of Vitamin D by being outside daily & getting 15 minutes of sunlight (I get about seven hours/daily)
Okinawa, Nicoya & Ikaria: Spend time talking to my Moai (my diverse aged friend group)
Okinawa & Adventists Loma Linda: at least 10 Minutes to Pray, Meditate, or Reflect Every Day
Adventists Loma Linda & Sardinia: Boost Your Mood with Food & Drink (this is one thing that I used to be great at, but here lately I've had to energetically toil towards via supplements, smoothies, tons of veggies/fruits)
Ikaria & Okinawa: gardening (hear me, so far, unsuccessfully - but I dig, plant, and water).
Ikaria: daily movement (regardless of my mood, I aim for over 10,000 steps every day but Sunday)
Sardinia: Laugh Daily (at work & home, I laugh often)
Nicoya: Develop a Personal Purpose Statement (I feel very connected to Gather & homeschooling/homemaking)
Nicoyans like to get their hands dirty, so physical work, chores, and activities are right up their alleys. Residents spend a lot of time outside as a result, allowing them to get plenty of vitamin D.
Like Nicoyans, I am attracted to & love the physical nature of my work & movement. And so even when I am feeling "meh," I am outside, moving and working. If contagious, I will avoid close proximity with others, but candidly, I usually don't see non-debilitating and/or non-contagious pain (emotionally or physically) as a reason to depart from my flow + be indoors, isolated & in bed all day.
That said, one of my favorite centenarian interviews is with Ms. Elizabeth Francis, 111 years old, she discussed gratitude: "I say, 'Thank you Lord' when I wake up in the morning, and I thank him when I go to bed." And being free from restrictions: "No, I'm not on a diet," she said. "I just eat what I feel like eating, what I know I like." Francis said, "I say what I want when I want."
This interview blessed me so much - it aligned to my year's intention, embracing me.
May we all feel grateful & free! Shalom, Friends.