A Successful Summer Slow-Down

Help! I slowed down too much! You know the feeling. Absolutely languid. This uber-hot summer required slow movement. Or so I tell myself. But the truth is, I finally accomplished a slow-down.

One day last week, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. The humidity was low, which is rare during a Kentucky summer. So my facebook post was:

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be off work, so I’m gonna go out and sit in the sun right now. Just because I can. Yeah.

You might be thinking I’m lazy, but that’s not really true. I walk six miles a week, keep up with my housework and . . . well I don’t have to list everything I do. But my plan of action includes a few minutes every morning, when I jot down the important things I want to complete that day. When my list is either completed, or satisfactory, I feel free to sit in the sun or read a book in the middle of the day.

Gusto Takes a Siesta

So today, I encourage you not to skip your break. Take it. Enjoy a leisurely lunch if you can. Give yourself permission to rest.

It’s even been hot in Seattle where Gusto lives. He’s definitely achieved the perfect slow-down. It’s called siesta. This is the only way to truly enjoy a hot summer afternoon.

So if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll put my feet up and enjoy today’s siesta. Anyone for a tall glass of iced tea?

Ten Reasons to Slow Down

Gusto enjoys the lake

I’m in a hurry. I eat too fast. I read books too fast. I skim the news on Yahoo. I half listen to my husband when he talks to me. I’m in a frenzy. My nerves are frazzled.

So I wrote a blogpost on slowing down. It sounded good, but could I really do it? Why slow down, anyway? In this world of microseconds and microwaves and instant everything, why take your time if you don’t have to?

If I slow down, perhaps my nerves will un-frazzle. Maybe my handwriting will improve. Maybe I’ll actually enjoy what I’m eating.

So what am I missing, anyway?

I’m a list-maker, so I came up with the following list (not necessarily ordered by importance):

  • Beautiful Sunrise
  • Wind blowing through the trees.
  • Birdsong
  • Waves crashing on the shore.
  • Breathing
  • Discovering the meaning of a story or novel.
  • Actually hearing all of my husband’s words. Not understanding; but hearing. 
  • Hearing and understanding God’s voice.
  • Grandchildren’s laughter
  • Taking time to show kindness to others, wherever I am.

These are all wonderful things. We miss many of them because we are in a hurry. We’re self-absorbed, always on the way to the next place or the next chore. Turn off the television and in so doing, we begin to de-structure our lives. There’s no longer any reason to put your book away, or come in from the front porch, or the back deck.

Put your feet up, sip your drink slowly and pretend the electricity is out.

On Slowing Down . . .

Gus the granddog Coping with the Heat

This morning’s lesson is simple: Slow down.

As I write this, it’s hot outside. Really hot. It’s hard to enjoy being outside when the temperature soars to 105 and it’s humid. 
I probably won’t take a walk today. I live in the suburbs and the sidewalks and pavement get so hot, you feel as if you’re walking on a hot stovetop. When I see those heat waves rising from the ground, I’m reminded of an old western movie, when the star is stranded in the barren desert. He sees a mirage ahead and runs forward–starving for water–only to find more dust and sand. 
I stumbled across a blogpost this morning, written by author Mary Ellis on Peggy Blann Phifer’s blog, outlining a few lessons learned from Mary’s study of the Amish. Among them, the words in my title, “Slow down.” Ah, what a timely lesson. In the brutal heat of summer, it might be a little easier to achieve. And then I realize how true it is. You can actually accomplish more, and do a better job along the way.
Take a look at your pets. When it’s hot, what are they doing? I don’t have pets, but I can look out on my patio and see squirrels lying on the concrete in the shade–on their bellies. They’re not rushing around, squirreling away food for the winter, they’re taking a break from the heat. The birds are enjoying whatever water they can find. None of them is in a hurry, it’s just too hot.
So today, I’m going to narrow down my to-do list. I’m going to center my energy on what’s truly important. But first, I think I’ll take a few minutes to sip a glass of cool water, breathe deeply, and enjoy my day off.