Daily Slowing Down

All too often, we get to the end of month or even a year and suddenly notice how quickly time flew by. Sometimes so quickly that we can’t remember what was memorable about that month or what was celebrated in that year. Instead of living like a speck on the speeding time line of our lives, we can change our relationship to time by shifting our internal clocks and perspectives.

I do not believe that time is a fixed state of being. It is a man-made convention of measurement. How we perceive time is relative to how we relate to our experiences. This has been a topic of discussion among many scientists from Einstein to modern day researchers.

“There is no single, uniform time, but rather multiple times which we experience. Our temporal distortions are a direct translation of the way in which our brain and body adapt to these multiple times, the times of life.” -Sylvie Droit-Volet of Blaise Pascal University

Ever since I was a young child, I would feel something was amiss if I just went to bed feeling like everything whizzed by in a dull blur. I also had problems dealing with the drudgery of routine. I wanted to find a way to make my day feel special.

I would do this by trying to draw a picture of an event at school, make a story that I could tell my older brother, or to imagine what could happen the next day. Donning my mom’s jewelry and my silk hanbok, I choreographed routines that combined ballet, folk dance, and disco. Engaging in acts of imagination and creativity would take ordinary events and make them feel a little more extraordinary.

I carried this practice into my adult life by recording in small notebooks images that I gathered or brief moments that held my heart and attention. The notebooks were small and fit easily into my purse, so I could access them easily. I would write down lines like “ the blue/purple markings on male ducks when they float along the harbor” and “watching the film, Cloud Atlas, while sitting shoulder to shoulder on my bed with my friend.”

“Eating jack fruit with my bare hands for the first time with my love.”

These recorded sentences were based on moments of color, flavor, and emotions. To find these quick flashes of significance, you do not have to do anything except pay attention and slow down enough to take note in your mind.

“ The black hawk sunning itself with wings wide open on the street lamp after a summer storm.”

I found that it changed the speed and beauty of my day. Knowing that I would be capturing moments encouraged me to be more awake in my daily life. A regular commute to work could be markedly different because of what you noticed along the way. A lunch break can be filled with unexpected sweetness by sharing a genuine, heart-felt conversation.

Recently, I have returned to this practice with the idea of writing down at least three moments a day. I tweet these lines, I write them down in my little notebook, and I use them as prompts when I need something to jumpstart my writing.

I feel that this practice has inspired a cycle of writing down and noticing what inspires me and in doing so, has created more situations to be inspired by. To be aware invokes spirit and spirit invokes significance to every day moment.

To learn more about relativity of time, read the article.


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