Sunday, March 13, 2011

Leaning In

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?


  1. This is a beautiful and true post! Every spring I rush toward the ocean after a winter being surrounded by mountains.

  2. This post is just what I need. So often I find myself rushing and I just have to remind myself to stop and just be...
    I can't think of anything specific at the moment because there have been many instances when I have not taken the time to savour the beauty around me. But inversely, there have been many times when I did. :)

  3. I'm all for savoring. And I love the pictures you post. Also Jade, I just posted the winners of The Looking Glass Poetry Battle and I need a few things from you.

    1. Your Bio
    2. Your full name

    Just send them to me through the email on my webpage. Thanks.

  4. I "lean-in" often on walks. Walking stops the routine of my days, and connects me to life in a different, natural way. And walking at places like the beach makes the walk even sweeter.

  5. I can relate to so much of what you write. I actually spent some of my weekend thinking about this issue to some extent. I'm a rusher as well, especially the skimming -- I'm so bad for that! I think I try to cram as much as I can into the moment -- I want to experience it all, but then I fail to miss the subtle meanings and nuances that only present themselves in the slow unfolding of the moment.

  6. Beautiful and reflective post - I think I almost always try to enjoy a moment. I can easily get lost in natural beauty, or the beauty of an enchanted minute and I rather linger for a while, forgetting everything else.
    Thank you so much for your kind visit and words, sorry it took me a while to return the favor.;)
    Many greetings from Denmark,

  7. I lean into conversations with friends, sometimes even people I don't know that well. I find their stories interesting. I care about people, and I feel refreshed by our talk.

  8. This is a beautiful post. I can recal many times when I said "I'm ready", when I wasn't quite done taking in the spactacular beauty that surounded me. Feeling either that I could have sat there forever so I had to leave sometime, or that I was self concious of the intense joy and contentment that such beauty brought to me. --*

  9. I can relate to the rushing around, Jade. I used to do everything quickly and I was always going, going, going. I had to teach myself to slow down. My daughter helped me with this - kids take their time at almost everything and I soon came to the conclusion that I was often rushing to go nowhere in a hurry :)