Slowing Down to Feel
I had the opportunity to lay in a hammock over the Labor Day weekend.
Granted, this may not be the most exciting start to a blog post. What I want to reflect on is actually…doing nothing.
So, that’s it. This weekend, I just laid in a hammock. And I breathed. I didn’t look at a phone, or talk on the phone, or plan my grocery list. I didn’t text anyone while resting in the hammock. I didn’t sleep. I laid and I breathed and I took in my surroundings.
Then my kids skipped over and jumped into the hammock with me. “The moment” wasn’t ruined, it was enhanced. We snuggled and chatted and they joined me in my moment of bliss.
Later that evening, I sat around in my backyard. I kicked my shoes off, watered some plants, and then I just did nothing. I hung out. I watched my kids play. My husband built a fire in our fire pit and then we hung out some more and gazed at the flames.
This shouldn’t sound like such a novel experience, doing nothing, but for me it is. I wonder if it is for many of us.
I will add another piece of context – we lost one of our loved ones this weekend. A very close family friend died suddenly after a fast and furious battle with cancer, lasting only a few weeks. We were grieving. In the midst of our loss, with our hearts aching from the distance between us and our loved ones who were there with her as she passed, we needed to feel.
Here is what I’ve learned about feeling as a counselor and as a Qoya teacher: You have to slow down in order to feel your feelings. Quite literally, we have to slow down and pay attention in order to notice body sensations. Too often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the culture we exist in and we do not allow ourselves time and space to feel. We engage with distractions and busy-ness. We flood our brains with stimuli (news, social media scrolling, tv, computers, etc.) and we become distracted and numb to feeling.
I heard a friend say in reference to their constant state of doing, “If you slow down too much, you might actually feel something.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
So for Labor Day, we did nothing. Instead of doing, we practiced being. And this definitely is a practice. It is a work in progress. A constant and consistent effort.
There is some irony in that, too – that in this time, we have to practice doing nothing. In this era, we are validated, reinforced, and praised for all that we are doing. There is no external reward for how skilled you are at being.
What if this became a priority in our lives: Less doing, more being.
When is the last time you intentionally slowed down in order to feel?
If you would like to explore slowing down to feel through the experience of a Qoya class, check out this upcoming 4-class Qoya series in November.