The Power of Now taught me about slowing down, setting intentions, new routines, unlearning and self-compassion
Being mindful of the present moment didn’t just help me savor the little things in life.
It also forced me to recognize the importance of slowing down and resting. In battling post-viral fatigue syndrome, I learned that if I didn’t pause and rest regularly, I would quickly relapse into being burnt out.
I hear you: “Slowing down is hard for high achievers” — because default norms and routines are set otherwise.
Initially, I tried to power through the fatigue and pain. But for the first time in my life, that strategy did not work. When your routines are turned upside down, it can be daunting, that’s for sure. Yet disruptive moments like the pandemic are also a perfect time to break free of default ways of being.
What I discovered about slowing down is that it’s not really about learning a new skill; rather, it’s about unlearning. You can start questioning the things you do on autopilot and focus on unlearning for adopting new routines.
So when pandemic restrictions eased off and I returned to building my wellness for the mind business, I had to learn entirely new ways of going about my day. I had to learn to say no to cramming the day with engagements and activities, I would have otherwise taken on. I had to rest in the middle of the day to avoid waves of pain and fatigue from escalating. I had to learn that while I was highly motivated to make things happen, not everything had to get done in one day. And, mostly, I had to learn to let go of any guilt associated with operating slowly, because the guilt just made the mental and physical fatigue worse.
Everyday, during mindfulness meditation I set the intention to “pay attention to energy levels” or “be gentle”— this is also a way to embed self-compassion as a habit in your everyday life.
I learnt that setting intentions is a wonderful habit for training the mind to be mindfully present and connected to what is going on in the moment.
Soon I discovered that when I was kind and respectful to myself, I was also much more grounded and generous in my interactions with others around me. I reminded myself that “just like me, they, too, are dealing with difficult things.” Rather than getting triggered and adding to the stress, I tried to listen without judgment.
There’s a myth that self-compassion means letting yourself off the hook. But, as I experienced practicing self-compassion and setting intentions, I observed that I was more motivated to improve and resilient to setbacks—without the procrastination, stress, and rumination you get from being self-critical.
I have (un)learnt so much personally by slowing down.
Now, I wonder, what would be possible for YOU too:
If you slow down just a little?
If you purposefully choose to embed in your mindset self-compassion intentionally and mindfully?
What beauty, connection, meaning, and joy might you find waiting for you right there in plain sight?