Professional Student of Life
Adventures in personal growth
The Kindness of Slowing Down
Since you cannot miss out on experiences that you are meant to have, every breath offers you the chance to put your faith into the hands of the Universe to remember how blessed, supported, and divinely guided you already are. ~ Matt Kahn
My relentless focus on the upside to pandemic life hit a speed bump recently when I had to cancel my annual housesitting job in Hawaii. I just kept hoping it would work out (actually, I was longing for it with all my heart), but it was not meant to be. Instead, I’m spending a lovely, quiet week off work at home, watching late summer turn into early fall and reading a book by Matt Kahn called Whatever Arises, Love That.
He reminds me of how important the quality of relaxation is to a quiet mind and an open heart: “Relaxation is always the preferred rate of speed for any level of spiritual exploration. Any time you rush through your journey, direct experiences of transcendence are replaced with shallow degrees of understanding.” Ironically, although relaxation was what I was longing for in Hawaii, my desire to control essentially uncontrollable circumstances was the opposite of relaxing!
Usually, slowing down is something that has to be forced on us. Sometimes it’s an illness or injury that does it, sometimes age, responsibilities, or lack of resources. Sometimes a pandemic. What marks true relaxation – and spiritual maturity – is how we react to this inability to move forward at speed. I like the concept that we can’t miss out on experiences we are meant to have: if they don’t happen now, they are either not meant to happen, or not in this timing. Knowing that, we can relax into the kindness of slowing down.
Surprisingly, relaxation is a quality we can also bring into our most active “doings.” I firmly believe that what you do doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you do it (the quality of energy you bring to it). Matt Kahn writes: “While success in many areas of life may be contingent upon getting things done, the rewards of spiritual evolution are discovered when the way you approach each task is equally as important as the goal at hand.” [Emphasis added.]
When I explore the energy of relaxation, it feels very open, fluid, and expansive – the opposite of the tight, constricted feeling I have when my mind is trying to arrange life the way it thinks it should go. I can look for and cultivate this energy whether I’m on the beach in Hawaii, sitting on my couch at home, or in the midst of a busy day at work. It’s about letting go of control (it’s just an illusion anyway) and truly believing that the experiences I’m meant to have will find me, at the perfect time. No effort required.
9/4/2020 02:26:45 am
once again SPOT ON. This has been something I have been "trying" to achieve for years.. and have been actively working on cultivating. Funny that I have to "try and "actively work" on relaxing.. but I live my life like a hamster on a wheel and it exhausts me, Since going back to work post quarantine life is intense.. my days are filled with appointments and I feel like I am holding my breath trying to stay on task all. the . time. This post was just what I needed to hear today as I contemplated adding more people to my schedule because I feel badly saying no.. Which is more important to me? A tight chest but happy clients or an open soft spacious heart and maybe a little less business?
9/4/2020 05:35:17 pm
Tiffany, thank you so much for your comment - it made my day!
alison Kurtz Stein
9/6/2020 03:54:47 am
Such a beautiful column Amaya...I love it,,,and yes one of the upsides of illness is the blessing of slowing down, if not coming to a complete halt...recovery is slow and requires a gentleness with oneself. I like to think of my challenges as opportunities to be more present for the small but meaningful moments. I do hope you will put all your columns together in book form one day! See you on IG!❤️
9/6/2020 06:55:34 am
Ali - that is exactly what I mean! And you would know. I hope maybe you'll come visit me in Mexico!!
Vernetta M. Stewart
9/6/2020 01:51:06 pm
I appreciated your comments, insights, and hearing of your personal experiences, as usual. .Nonetheless , I am sorry you didn't get to Hawaii! One of my three cancelled excursions this year included a visit with younger family out of state I seldom see, but was a bit relieved I could pause and enjoy being home instead. V.
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