I’ve dropped five glass items in the last two months, one of which was bottle filled with apple cider vinegar (stripped the sealer right off my floor) and one of which was a jar filled with honey (super fun to clean up). I’m less than two years shy of my 50th birthday, so some of my first thoughts were, “What’s wrong with me? Is there something going on with my grip?” I tested myself after each drop, successfully opening and closing my hand, successfully picking up and putting down a large olive-filled glass jar.

Slow Down Everyone!

While driving home from teaching qigong one morning, “Inaudible Melodies” by Jack Johnson drifted through my speakers. I started chuckling when I tuned into the lyrics:

Slow down everyone
You’re moving too fast
Frames can’t catch you
When you’re moving like that

Chuckling because I’ve recently been getting the “slow down” message in a few places. I think it’s an underlying theme for 2023.

Fast Paced and Multi-tasking

Our society is addicted to fast-paced living. This breakneck speed promotes overstimulation and overscheduling, which become chronic stressors that can lead to mood, attention, and behavioral disorders. The mass of incoming information has eroded our attention and our creativity. We allow ourselves less time to reflect as we become dominated by a need to do something, to do anything, and that mentality unknowingly keeps us in the blur of life.

Impressed with your ability to multi-task? Multi-tasking stimulates internal chaos and fragmented attention. Nope, nothing wrong with my grip. Fragmented attention, however, now that resonates. And not just with my inability to hold a glass in my hand. Why do we need to slow down? How do we slow down?

In the Wintertime…and Always

Any time is the perfect time to bring awareness to slowing down, but winter especially so. Winter is the season of the Water element. Water, one of five elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is associated with finding the stillness. Winter is the time to become more introspective, a time for digesting your experiences so that you can make room for new inspiration and insights to arise without effort. Forcing the inspiration is like adding to your plate that’s probably already full. Let inspiration flow with ease.

Too much activity and too much focus on the outer world will deplete Water and lead to an imbalance in the physical and energetic bodies. When the Water element is out of balance, we become absentminded, detached, or we may even lose our sense of self-awareness. Qigong (and acupuncture) can help balance and cultivate the gifts of Winter and Water. Give it a try!

Find Your Balance

I’m not against technology, AI, social media,…but I invite you to find a better balance, one that nourishes you and helps you slow down. Limit your multi-tasking. Turn off the notifications on your phone. Let go of the guilt of slowing down. Play “What’s Your Nature”, and better yet, get outside in nature. Meditate. (Listen to the Spiritual Intersections podcast, “Discovering the Benefits of Meditation”.) Practice qigong with me. Make eye contact when you’re having conversations with friends and family.

Whatever feels good, remember that slowing down goes beyond the seasons. Make that the habit. I’ll leave you with some more song lyrics, these from “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon & Garfunkel:

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Hello lampost, watcha knowin’
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Let the morningtime drop all it’s petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy

Love and light,