Enforced Slow

I don’t know how many times I have told myself the following; I really need to slow down. I wish life could just slow down. I need more hours in the day. I need to simplify my life. I want to get off. This is madness. We can’t go on like this……These mantras were usually spat out angrily, while trying to deal with four people’s needs, walk a dog, be in three places simultaneously, and often ran through my head, unabated, until I fell into bed, far too late, too exhausted to sleep properly. For a while now I have felt as though I was living two intertwined lives; the busy working mum and the meditating yogi. As the clarity around my spiritual path grew and my practice began to dominate my thinking, the other, crazy-busy arena of my life began to look more and more absurd. I understood that this phase of my life; raising a family and running a creative, nurturing, love-filled home, going out to work, driving to endless after school activities, simply had to be held within my practice, neither less or more important. I could only develop my practice, simplicity and creativity so that they enhanced the crazy, rather than the crazy leaving no time for them. So, I started rising an hour earlier and developed a simple, sustainable morning ritual. I listened to chanting on the drive to work and kept it quiet for the drive home. I parcelled some of the evening for some yoga, ten minutes if that’s all I could manage and stayed up a short while after everybody else to meditate by the fire, journal and go outside, regardless of the weather, to end the day under the moon, breathing in the rain, feeling whipped up by the wind. In short, I was feeding in as much spirit, practice and soul-food as possible into my every day, letting the more mindful quality I brought to actions, hopefully spill over into my family, enjoying even more those cosy, fire-side stories and quiet board games as a full appreciation of slow parenting.

And then my back gave out and in a heartbeat my wish was granted. For the past two months my suddenly simple life has consisted of practically one room, one stack of books, one view from the window, one fire, one hurt, painful body, one meditator, one breathing me. Life has slowed to a crawl. Days are glacial. And on one level this is torture. This is the person who opened windows in every room she went into to stave off claustrophobia. Who gazed out of the window constantly at work, dreaming of mountains, counting the minutes until her daily after work walk with her dog and children. Who cherished every addicted moment of emerging herself in the great outdoors. Whose excitement at seeing the first shoots, the first leaves was unparalleled. Who considered a day without time in nature a wasted day, who would become increasingly tetchy, pacing the cage until she could release herself to somewhere green. This was me. I am also the person with a yoga mat in virtually every room in the house. Half an hour here, five minutes there, yoga, yoga, yoga, getting me energised every morning and sustaining every breath of my day until the evening wind down. Going through the day without those things is tough. It’s frustrating physically, mentally, emotionally.

But. Every day I am thankful. Genuinely thankful. I will get better and may never be afforded this luxury of time again for years. I miss my woods. I miss my mat. Am kind of grieving for my supple, strong, lung-busting former life. But there is learning in this experience. Learning in every experience. Inactivity, we all know, is bad for us, body, mind and soul. But even inactivity can be redeemed somewhat. Mindful inactivity that is healing, nourishing, self-educational is my bag right now. Candles, fires, notebooks, studying, breathing, planning, writing. This slow life has a lot going for it, believe me. The dog stretched out on the rug. The books I had been not getting around to reading. The slow, long talks with my daughters. The movie nights and games. So, right now, I am revelling. Appreciating. Overflowing with hygee. And gratitude. Enjoying the tart, sweetness of my proverbial lemonade.