“Ten times a day something happens to me like this—some strengthening throb of amazement—some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
I read a story in Mark Nepo’s The Book of Soul about a sherpa who was guiding a group of climbers up a mountain. Those making the ascent were rushing and pushing themselves to reach the top and the sherpa, noticing their pace, offered his expertise, telling them, “slowly, slowly is the way.” Having spent much of my life rushing and pushing to get “somewhere,” this story and his words caught my attention.
I’ve always had an active mind and a love of adventure and learning. This has translated to so many amazing experiences, creative projects, and beautiful humans in my life. And lately I’ve been noticing how often I meet a spacious moment and fill it up with “thought clutter.” My clutter includes a mile-long list of things I must do and things I must pay attention to so I won’t forget, and then worrying that I might forget, which loops back to having to remember, and on and on and on. This clutter, like a room full of junk that needs sorting, leaves me often feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, with no time or sense for what’s really happening. How about you? Any thought clutter you’d like to clear out?
The good news is, we have more choices than monitoring, worrying, and overwhelming our minds, and it starts with the body. Our body is a rock star at inhabiting the moment. In fact, unlike the mind, the body can never leave the present. It is always in deep communion with the moment, taking in millions of bits of sensory data per second. The body is hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, and seeing the moment exactly as it is. When we bring our attention to our breath, we enter body awareness. Our thought chatter stills, our minds redirected and alert to what’s happening right now. Yes.
I find this practice of slowing down and being in the moment fun. As I write to you, I am sitting in an airport in Newark, New Jersey. I breathe in and tune in; conversations are happening all around me in many different languages and I am melting into this pot, hearing it all at once. I sense how big our world is, how much one life contains. I am here, and I am everywhere. As I slowly enter each moment, my experience of being on a 10-hour layover is improving. I am reminded how rich my life is and how happy I am surrounded by people, knowing it is amazing that each of us made our way to this moment together.
So today, I invite you to join me in the spaciousness of the moment. Let’s practice slowly, slowly is the way. Instead of pushing and rushing, let’s be breathing with awareness, connecting to the experience we are in.
xo – s