A Reminder to Slow Down
This summer I happily set off on a sabbatical after quitting my corporate job. My idea was to road trip across the country so I could experience different places, visit friends, and maybe even go camping. I was imagining a relaxing month or two of sight-seeing and wandering.
For a Type A engineer, slowing down is harder than it sounds. While I enjoyed my time in the various cities I visited, I found myself speeding & racing the clock whenever I got behind the wheel. Wasn’t this whole trip about having no agenda and no timeline?
As was inevitable, I finally got pulled over in Maryland on my way to Bethany Beach, Delaware. I was resigned to my fate—I totally deserved a ticket. The female cop approached me with caution (which was especially appropriate given the recent violence against police officers).
Even though I was expecting the worst, the officer seemed almost relieved to have a routine traffic stop. She let me off with a warning! Before she let me go, however, she said, “Hey, do me a favor—slow down."
Those words hit me like a mack truck—what the hell was I doing, speeding across the country? A yoga teacher and committed meditator, I had somehow managed to compartmentalize those aspects of my life as being outside my vehicle.
I took her words and formed my intention to “slow down” for the rest of my time on the Delaware shore. I reveled in morning meditation and reading, afternoon naps, and nighttime walks on the beach, even though I had no idea where I was headed past that summer. Whenever I drove, I tried to enjoy silence and observation, or sing Bhakti kirtan music.
A lot of us, including me, are prone to live our lives racing from destination to destination. But what if the magic is in the journey? In the welcome surprises, like a delicious gluten-free market or the friendly gas station attendant?
The lessons are in the journey. The progress is in the journey. The fun is truly in the journey.
A regular yoga practice is a beautiful way to honor your journey. I first fell in love with yoga precisely because there is no end goal, no destination. You may notice physical changes, maybe even mental or spiritual openings, but the work never ends. Coming to our mats again and again is a wonderful acknowledgement of ourselves, exactly as we are in that moment.
How do you remind yourself to slow down? What are the most beautiful gems you have discovered while being in the journey, rather than focused on the destination?