Thursdays mean the last day of the (outer) work week for me. It’s the last day of the week that I go to the school where I work as a mentor/coach for high school students. And at the end of the day, I downshift into an even slower life than my Monday-Thursday slow life.
That doesn’t mean that I am inactive during my long weekends, it just means that my work shifts from my public, extroverted work world, to my inner-focused work world. And in this way of living, 4 days at school + 3 days at home, I have found a deep sense of balance + harmony. I have, in fact, learn to downshift my entire life so that my entire focus, no matter where I am, is on living a slow, mindful life.
It’s pretty fucking amazing, actually. And I feel pretty fucking blessed.
But, why live a slow life? And, more importantly, how? Well, the only thing I can really do is answer those questions by sharing with you what a regular slow life day looks like in my world.
This morning, I woke to my alarm. I’d had a really good night’s sleep + I was ready to rise when my alarm went off. So, I stretched, threw back the covers, and padded into the kitchen to drink some water and make the coffee. While it was brewing, I washed my face + cleaned my body. And, then, all clean + fresh, I poured a mug of coffee and went into the living room for my hour to myself.
This hour is my favorite time of day. Especially in the darkness of winter. It’s almost as if I am the only one awake in the whole entire world. And yet, I feel the presence of everyone + everything all at the same time. But, in the darkness of the morning, it’s just me + the magic of it all. And, in this hour, I only do the things that speak most to my soul. The things in which I find my inspiration + grounding.
But, I don’t always do the same thing. I trust my spirit to guide me. What that looks like is that I just do what I do in that moment. Yes, I may have intentions + ideas, but I go with whatever I feel in the moment. This morning, I planned on lighting candles + reading/writing. But, after I lit the candles, I stood in the center of the room and stretched + breathed. And, then, I just started moving into a few yoga poses that I haven’t done in a few weeks.
Feeling good after that, I grabbed my meditation blanket and sat on the floor to meditate – something that I had not at all planned. But I spontaneously opened an app on my phone and meditated in the silence for about 10 minutes. After that, I went to the sofa, sipped my coffee, and read a little bit. I journaled a few sentences, but that I was it.
Soon, it was time for me to move on with my day. I did a few last minute touches to my make-up and headed out into the dark, snowy morning to work. Feeling satisfied + filled from my slow morning.
Work today was one test of flexibility after another. Almost none of the colleagues that I work most closely with were at the school today, so that left me on my own. No problem. It just wasn’t what I expected. I had about an hour of calm work at my desk and then I knew I’d be busy the rest of the day. I tried to get some documentation and planning done, but people kept coming in + out. I turned on my Christmas music playlist + let it play in the background as I moved back + forth from working on my computer to filling in where my colleagues were missing to chatting with students + teachers who all needed different things.
And, then, my first meeting showed up early and just walked in. So, I started with them early, made a plan for the student, and then took about 5 minutes to refill my coffee cup before my second meeting. That one went well, too, and ended with a few staff members coming in to sit for coffee + pastries. Suddenly, my third meeting showed up 30 minutes early. So, I went ahead with that one, thinking that then I’d have a little more time for lunch.
Just as that meeting ended, someone came in who really needed some help. And then someone else appeared who needed some help after that. Before I knew it, my lunch time was flying away. So, I shut my door, drew the curtain in my window, and spent 30 minutes of my lunch with myself. I needed to ground + reconnect + slow down the speed of my morning.
I am absolutely present in the moment when I have meetings, talk with others, have planning sessions or counseling sessions. But, sometimes the sheer number of them happening one right after the other drains me. And I know that I need to take a breather.
My afternoon was already packed with plans, so the 30 minutes to myself was perfect. And then, I was ready to get on with my day.
I headed to the classroom where I would be meeting a class of 20ish students who I knew were stressed about all of the work they have to do before the holiday break in 2 weeks. The school counselor came in to do a presentation on stress and anxiety, and then I took over to help the students break down an assignment that they were freaking out about.
In the midst of talking with them about that, the teacher who assigned this assignment went by, and I thought that it’d be great to grab him + have him come in so we could explain together. I took off at a quick pace to try to catch him down the aisle between the desks, but as I turned to get to the door, I fell.
And I fell hard. I almost hit my face on a desk, but instead pushed it away with the palm of my left hand as I tumbled onto the hard floor. Landing directly on my right knee and then left side. Everything immediately hurt. My students all gasped. But, for some reason, without thinking, my reaction was to just jump up + stand there. I asked someone to go get the teacher + I leaned on a desk. Aching everywhere as if I’d just been in a car wreck.
Again, for some reason, I just kept on going. The teacher came, I was in pain, and I just kept on leading the class. No one said anything else about me wiping out. I was ok. So I just continued on with my class.
After a while, when I gave them a break, and before I had another meeting, I went back to my office to get some pain killers. I knew I was gonna have bruises + swelling, so I wanted to take something. I decided that I’d also call Lina. I could feel that I needed to talk to someone. That I needed to break down a bit.
So, I called her + I told her what happened + I cried. I almost sobbed. I was in pain. And I was in shock. Not literally. But, I just felt so weird. And I needed to just let it all out.
When I had let those emotions come + go, I prepared myself for 2 interviews (the other mentor I work with is leaving in 2 weeks, so I am interviewing for new mentors). I knew that I also had work to do after the interviews were done, but I really just wanted to go home. I had worked longer yesterday + I knew that I’d only be leaving 30 minutes early, but I just didn’t see how I could, considering the things I needed to finish up before the weekend.
However, after having 2 very good interviews with some good candidates, I literally immediately packed my bags + left. I needed that. And my soul was telling me to listen to my body + my soul. It was time to rest. Time to let this week at the school go, and head home.
So, I did.
And, ever since I’ve been home, I’ve been in bed. Leg up on pillows (it’s very swollen + very bruised) and an ice pack on it. My love has been bringing me things. And the cat has been snuggled beside me. I’ve gone back + forth between dozing off + watching Netflix.
I have realized, of course, as this day as unfolded, that, while I am good at slow living, I suck at being taken care of. Or taking care of myself in other ways. I’m very good at knowing that I prefer a slower paced, contemplative, calm life focused on the present moment. And I live that kind of life. But, I am horrible at not being the one who is taking care of everyone else.
That’s the thing about a slow life. It’s a life that is all about living in the present moment. It’s about being aware. Trusting what’s happening. Staying grounded. And, at the same time, going with the flow.
A slow life does not mean that nothing is happening. It does not mean a life without action. But, it means a life of grounded presence + awareness in the middle of it all. It means letting peace + calm + stability emerge from within, no matter the outside situation.
This way of living is one that I have worked on for many years. I’m not yet there. Nor, do I expect to be during my lifetime on earth. However, I have discovered + found deeper levels of peace, more true ways of living slowly, raising my awareness + higher self, as the days + months + years pass. As I evolve, my life sinks more deeply into a slow, mindful way of living with every moment that passes. And it feels like I become more + more aligned. So that there is no division between my outer life + my inner life. My busy days + my tranquil ones. My solitary moments + the ones filled with people.
The key is to return, again + again, to that quiet space of just being. To live from that space of just being. And to exude a vibe + an energy of equalized stability + calm love. This is the life that I seek.
What about you? What kind of life do you seek?