In silence we sat on a stone bench and faced a divinely beautiful scene. Every color intensified in sunlight, various trees stood alongside the water below, and the sky was almost cloudless this spring day. To the right of us was a wild bird guide, which helped viewers identify the creatures they saw.
What stands out to me most as I look back on this memory was the vibrant colors. I can barely recall what I saw, whether I witnessed an uncommon bird in flight or the exact shapes of the trees. The simple blur of colors stayed with me, those lively greens and pinks, and the yellow of some distant tree.
Besides the shimmering colors, I also remember when I stood up too soon. “Okay, I’m ready,” I said.
My boyfriend encouraged me to pause awhile. At first I felt a bit of defensiveness rising up inside me as he pointed out my quickness to leave. I was already ready to go and we had just sat down. But once that passed, I realized the value of slowing down, lingering awhile, soaking in the view, savoring a scene, and properly absorbing what we experience.
I often move at a very hurried pace. So often I find myself skipping up the stairs, barely chewing my food, ready to go home once I arrive somewhere, skimming what I read, checking the time, and so on.
My antidote to this, although it doesn’t always work as well as I plan, is to first become aware of the fact that I am rushing. Denying it or getting defensive doesn’t really help. Taking slow, mindful breaths helps as well. Focusing attention outward and not taking the inner worrier and commenter too seriously works for me. (That doesn’t mean to try to turn off your thought life or force only good thoughts, just realize that these thoughts are not necessarily true.) Last, simplify your day to only a few essential activities or tasks.
Today let’s slow our pace and savor one activity, whether it is a prayer, a journal entry, a conversation with a friend, or a cup of tea.
Reflection: Can you recall a time when you either rushed away from something beautiful, or leaned in towards it?