No. 67

Slowing Down



I tell it to myself over and over again. Breathe and be in this moment.

The pain. The joy. The warmth. The wind. Whatever it is, I breathe.

I’ve been working on slowing down, being still, discovering my presence in the moment. This has been no easy task: I was born and raised on phrases like “The early bird gets the worm” and “Hard work pays off.” I watched my father work a job that sometimes required him to be there 80 hours a week so he could support his family. When I was a child, I didn’t entirely understand, but that work-hard-until-you-break attitude became part of me.

I also became a talented multi-tasker, because I believed that getting more done meant I would achieve more. I did homework while watching television. I read books while at play rehearsals or commuting on a subway or waiting in line. I ate while talking to others, while researching a paper, while sitting in class. My mind was always racing. And it was always split.

Nothing seeped. I couldn’t recall exact tastes or textures or settings or words. My entire world felt like a blur. I felt like I was constantly running a race and always falling farther behind, no matter how much faster I went.

Then one day, I stopped completely. I sat on a hilltop with nothing to do but be where I was. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt at home in myself, I felt my surroundings sharpen, I broke free.

And I resolved that I wouldn’t return to my old ways. I’m trying to single-task more, take time to nourish myself, be fully in my life rather than living ahead or behind. Old habits can be hard to break, but they are breaking, every time I stop and center and breathe.

How do you slow down when you feel you’re moving too fast?

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

3 thoughts on “Slowing Down

  1. Oh my goodness, I always used to be the type of person that was in a hurry. Not really because I felt like I had a zillion things to do, but because I hated (and still do when it comes to some things, like driving) moving slowly. It’s drastic, but it took me getting in a fender bender while I was in college for me to slow down. And it’s never really that I’m driving too fast, it’s that I used to always feel such anxiety while driving.

    Now, what has really helped me (because I have the same problem with having to tell myself to breathe) is yoga. I love that it’s not just exercise, it’s a whole state of mind. As long as I have a full-time job I have to keep myself from going into that hurrying mode. When I don’t have a job, I don’t have that problem.

  2. i have been told so many times that i am in hurry. i don’t mean to be but i get in a mood and just want to get things done. i have been unraveling this as of late. i don’t know why i am in a rush. it really goes against how i want to live. building quiet times in my day are helpful. so is yoga and meditation. it’s a work process for sure.

  3. i love that image of you on a hilltop with nothing to do but just be. sometimes you need to get up high, find yourself above the world for a bit to get that bird’s eye view where things make sense.

    i’m with you in that it’s so hard to just be. i too find myself getting lost in things of the past or obsessing about future plans. in turn, it’s hard to just be content with what’s happening right now. one of my favorite quotes of the moment is by john lennon: “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

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