My trip to California last month changed some things for me - amazing what the combination of lack of sleep and good conversation can do. I returned home with a challenge to change some things in my life, which is what I have spent the last month doing.
What have I done that is so life changing? Slowed down. That's it, nothing earth shattering, just slow down. This is not easy for me - I don't like to slow down. I like my 4:30 am workouts 6-7 days a week; my second job that keeps me working each night; my busy social life; my volunteer work; the hikes and bike rides and so on. They are fun and exciting and keep me very busy.
But now? My workouts are considerably less, maybe 2-3 times a week. My mornings are now spent reading and meditating, concentrating on the things inside me that need some work. And the evenings? Quietly spent on my computer (yes, I still spend way to much time on the thing) but also reading (that's two books at one time - a record!). I've concentrated on the outer me a long time, believing that the rest would follow. And that has happened to a certain extent. But what I was really doing was making my life so busy that I wouldn't have to deal with the parts of me I didn't like, the parts that only I saw. It was fun for a while, but not very healthy.
And here's the surprise - I like to slow down. I like to breathe deeply and search my heart and body daily for those things that, in the past, have created havoc in my life. It's the ultimate in my own personal 'radical acceptance' and I must admit, exhausting. But worth every minute.
There have been some amazing benefits from this slow down:
1. less stress - I just don't let things get to me. Part of being sick this year was due to stress; actually, most of it was. And the meds I was on did not help - they wrecked havoc with my body, causing weight gain and other fun issues. No more, I threw those puppies away and am managing it naturally and applying that to all areas of my life.This whole process hasn't been easy, at all. There are good days and bad days. But for now, this is my new adventure and it has been an even wilder ride than all the races or climbs or bike rides I've done the past 2 years.
2. feel stronger physically - ironic, since my workouts have decreased. But I am more focused when I am working out and feel much more rested and relaxed.
3. better relationships - I always have to work on these, but I'm finding that my openness to share my struggles and challenges allows others to share theirs as well. Honestly, what would I do without people in my life who challenge and listen and love me no matter what? They make all the difference.
4. more rested - not just sleep wise, but mentally rested. My brain seems to function better and my concentration is much better. It's an overall feeling of peace and calm that has escaped me in the past.
I wouldn't have it any other way.