The Joy of Slowing Down

Blue flowers laid on an open book.
Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

My garden has become my sanctuary. It is not fancy. It is not particularly pretty. But it is full of life. And lessons. In the past five months, I have learned to tune out the noise and become aware in a whole new way.

I used to buy into the productivity trap, the hustle culture. I'd be spending hours on end either on social media "building" my wellness business, or falling into various rabbit holes that I'd call "trainings." It left me burnt out, miserable, feeling worthless, and generally unhappy.

The day I gave it up was the day I claimed my freedom back.

At times it has been a rocky path. Old patterns keep resurfacing. I feel like I should be doing something. I should be creating offerings in order to remain relevant. But then I take a walk in my garden and I am reminded that I am exactly where I need to be.

When you slow down you start to notice things, little and subtle things that have always been there but you've never paid attention. You've disconnected from the world around you because you've been too busy spending it online, numbing your senses, "networking." But when you're left on your own, with your own thoughts, you feel utterly lost.

At least that's where I ended up at.

Slowing down has allowed me to reconnect with nature in a way that I used to be connected to it when I was a kid.

As a little girl, I would look forward to the changing of the seasons, apprehensively keeping an eye out for the first sign of spring or autumn. I remember the bus rides to school, grabbing a window seat, and looking forward to seeing the first hepaticas slowly emerging from the winter slumber on the edge of the woodlands.

I'd look forward to the changing of the leaves and collecting conkers for various art projects. I'd wait for the return of the swallows and skylarks announcing the start of the summer. I'd look forward to the visits to grandma's summer house to reacquaint with the storks who would come back to the same pole year after year.

Somehow the world seemed less of a complicated place. It is a notion I am slowly returning to. I am consciously seeking out the first signs of the changing seasons, the emerging of certain wildflowers, the ripening of the wild strawberries that are taking over my little herb patch.

I'm also getting to know some newcomers. For two weeks now I've noticed these tiny fiery blossoms, so delicate that I've been afraid to reach out and touch them in case they dissipate. I've been admiring their beauty. I'd notice their reluctance to open up on a cloudy day. I'd welcome their openness on a sunny day. But I did not know its name. And it would hunt me.

This morning, as I was diving into the last chapter of Dancing with Bees, the author took me on a journey to her childhood roaming grounds. She would talk about the various wildflowers she'd meet on her wanderings. This was exactly the nudge I've needed.

I finally sought out the name of my garden visitor. I found a list of British wildflowers and lo and behold, the very last item on the list was my unknown friend. Except she was no longer unknown.

Her name was Scarlet Pimpernel.

It's rather funny, I felt an instant reconnection. It is as if meeting an old friend you've not seen for a while and the years in between have left their marks on both of you. But then you hug and it feels like home again. It is as if the years in between have only been a day or two.

I'm noticing the same thing is happening with ideas. I'm known to jump in headfirst and figure out the rest as I go along. I'm learning to sit on things and let them simmer. This morning, as I was contemplating in my journal, I noticed how an idea I had a couple of months ago resurfaced. Except, it feels more mature now. It tastes more flavoursome.

I'm reminded that we don't have to rush around creating things. In fact, some need time to simmer to build up a more wholesome and rounded flavour. Just like Scarlet emerged from a tiny seed I'd sown a couple of years ago, my ideas behave the same way.

When we slow down and enjoy the human being part, our ideas do too. That's how they mature and evolve, and at times dissipate. It just means they were either not meant to be birthed through us or the timing was not quite ripe.

You might be stuck in that hustle culture trap too and feel exhausted and want to find a different path, but you're not sure how. My gentle Lunar Wanderings will help you to start tuning out the noise and reconnect with your inner knowing.