Walking very slowly

I have returned to the simple idea of walking slowly. Very slowly, if I can remember.

I was speeding up. And along with this my mind ‘took off’, dramatising all the usual patterns.

The great thing about deciding to walk slowly is that it does not involve any mind. It is simply something the body does, and it keeps attention in the body, as the body. I think I was actually doing this, and got scared by its unfamiliarity.

It seems to me that believing what my mind is saying is the source of my stress.

Nothing else to say this time – I am being mindless – oh dear, what about mindfulness???

Going backwards and just existing

Mindfully banishing fleas from four animals and the whole house, while also clearing about ten thousand eucalyptus leaves from outside the house and preparing a car for sale, seems to be a bit too advanced a practice for me. Sigh.

So I have had a relapse into ‘getting things done’ mode, which includes the need to complete each task (‘complete-itis’ it has been called). The feeling of satisfaction which comes from this is becoming more transparent – it is rather empty. I don’t like it much. Of course it relieves anxiety (the anxiety of not having things done, and not completing them) – so clearly this is a never ending circle!

On the positive front, I am beginning to feel that I am composed of substance. This does not feel bad, in spite of the fact that there seems to be ‘more of me’ to move around. This of course helps me to walk slowly 🙂  In fact it feels surprisingly good. Especially when I am completely still. Just existing. This is a quiet miracle.

Seeing up close

Slow walking has become normal!  I don’t feel I can take full credit for this, however, in the sense of being completely due to mindfulness.  In fact it probably has a lot to do with taking beta blockers 😛

Oh well, I will accept this as a graceful coincidence – such things do happen to me and I’m grateful. The main thing is that I am (most of the time) walking slowly. This means, among other things like spending more time getting places (and getting out of supermarkets), that I am also breathing more slowly, and that my sense of time is changing. This is quite amazing. It seems that time ‘happens’ sometimes in discrete ‘pieces’, and then can simply not be ‘happening’ at all.  Such as when I just stop and look at something, aware of my body exactly where it is.

So, this is my next commitment – to look at things ‘up close’. I have been doing this, as I walk more slowly. When I do this, I wonder what I have been seeing all my life as I plough along, usually oblivious.

This is not just no-stress, this is joy.

Keeping people waiting

One of the most tense feelings I have, which is guaranteed to promote rushing, is that which arises when I am keeping people waiting. Even keeping my dogs waiting! And, I admit it, even my cats!

Yesterday I was out with the dogs (two standard poodles) and, feeling tired, took a break from ball throwing to lie down for a rest on the grass. Delightful and delicious, watching the clouds……….for a few moments. Then the compulsive urge to get up again – I can just feel the dogs are staring at me, WAITING.

Amazingly, a tiny piece of mindfulness arose, and I decided to endure the tight agitation in my chest, focussing my attention on the feeling and doing nothing. Intense! The only way to avoid the awful feeling, other than jumping up as usual, was to expand attention around it, like a balloon of space, and BE in that. This felt so good.  Time dissolved and simply didn’t exist. More amazing still, the ‘keeping waiting’ tension also disappeared. I got up and felt buoyant and happy – to see two relaxed poodles smiling at me   🙂 🙂

Now to keep the cats waiting for their dinner. And I may even practice on humans.

Slow slow, quick quick slow

For the past few days I have been taking a small dose of beta-blockers. The idea is to break the cycle of stress response of the body, and so that this does not feed back and build up to actual stress. It is an experiment, undertaken reluctantly, as I dislike taking medication and usually have all the side effects.

So, does this help with my slowing down practice? Yes. Walking uphill feels like wading through mud.

Does it reduce stress? – I don’t know yet. Nor do I know if the benefits of slowing down the beta-blocker way is worth the side effects, which include disturbed sleep and nightmares, heavy dullness, headaches and lethargy. Now this lethargy is very strange and not at all ‘me’. But perhaps that is the idea…..

I’m giving this experiment a month.

Daily reports to come!

Dissolving time pressure

I am still habitually racing along.  There always seems to be a reason, and there always seems to be time pressure.  I have a time limit (at least in my head) which means I must rush. Whether it is not leaving  the dogs in the car too long (they may get bored!) or not keeping someone waiting for me (I am usually early) – well, you get the idea.

So this is the second step after committing to remember to walk slowly (the actual walking slowly happens some of the time) and which has arisen from it – committing to remember to dissolve time pressure. Sounds like a mouthful, but it is something I can do – i.e.. the committing bit.

How can I dissolve time pressure? I don’t know. I think it has something to do with stopping the headlong rush.  What has happened so far, when I suddenly remember this second commitment,  is that ‘time’ changes. It is as though time, in the sense of a real moving thing which I am racing against, just dissolves. This is interesting. Anyway, it seems to restore me to remembering to walk slowly…….

Tricking my mind with purposelessness

Committing to mindful living is not a whim or a nice idea – it is a need. The effects of intensely rushing through life are not pleasant, and I have at last had enough.

But there’s a problem – my mind is addicted to the idea of achieving things and being purposeful (believe me, it need not be big – anything will do, even washing dishes!). Hence day after day of rushing through life.

So here’s the trick – writing this blog allows me to think I am living with a purpose. While actually I am letting go of purpose! So far it is working 🙂

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Today’s observation on walking slowly – I look at the sky. It is beautiful.

 

 

 

A slow walk

Report from my day of deciding to walk slowly:

Several metres of fast walking ‘happened’ before I remembered to walk slowly

I noticed that I have feet

It took me longer to get places

Tomorrow will be another walking slowly day.

Trying to be mindful is stressful

So, how to be mindful and free of stress? I have a long list of wonderful ideas. That’s the trouble – another stressful thing added to the worry about not being mindful! How to remember them all?  How to prioritise? How to achieve and succeed in all these ‘tasks’. Yes, more of the same non-mindfulness, an endless, anxiety-creating cycle.

Today only one thing.  Today is my walking slowly day.