The Slow Down: Finding Gratitude

I have been running wild since I was popped out of my mama’s womb. Always filling my schedule, racing to the next milestone. Never finding time to sit down and JUST BREATHE. Thankfully, that is all starting to change….


For a while I lived the routine life of biweekly paychecks and studying for exams. Then I graduated and bounced around from city to city – camping, hiking, traveling, living life. Though it was all beautiful, all apart of the process, it was tiring.

i am tired.

i am tired.

i am tired.

Our society prides it’s self on personal exhaustion.

10 hour work days, blocked out calendars, never finding time for the basics – sleep, proper nutrition, exercise.

Hell, what is relaxation??

No wonder why life is flying past, the days that never seem to last….

It is time to SLOW DOWN.

For the first time in my life I have no plans.
No expectations. No idea what comes next.

The weather in Minnesota is beautiful and is only going to improve. Summer nights have that perfect kind of chill reminding me that autumn is just around the corner and with it comes a time of transition, inspiration, and change.

I listen to the birds sing.

The misty, fog air creates beads of dew collecting on my summer kissed arms. The sun sneaks between the branches illuminating the green, fresh leaves. How had I never noticed this beautiful hardwood jungle I call a backyard? This dusty old hometown I apprehensively moved back to is slowly evolving into my happy oasis filling me with love and a DEEP sense of gratitude.
Oh, how much had I taken for granted.

Home. The trees, the green, the lakes, the love. All of these things I forgot about… There is no where else I rather be and it took me years to see. I’ve always wanted to get away, to go somewhere new, escape, flea, constantly chasing a feeling. The idea that the grass is always greener…..

All I have to do is pick up my feet.
Underneath, right where I'm standing, is beautiful.

When you’re racing around you get so lost in the momentum that the fine details that make this life worth living often hide behind the monotony of daily routine. The alarm clock shakes you quicker than you had hoped and the traffic begins to boil your blood. The distractions and noise keep us from hearing ourselves, listening to what we need, pushing us further and further from what we feel.

That’s where I’ve been at and it took me this long to realize it. Even though my schedule wasn’t filled with business meetings or client lunches, it was constantly moving. Sitting in one place was nearly impossible. For so long I was gasping for breath. My inhales were a few seconds shy from full and my exhales were deep sighs of exhaustion. I thought I was so different from ‘society’ but I was right there in the rat race.

Slowing down seems to be the hardest challenge, but really the answer to any modern day ailments. The stress we, as a society, put on ourselves is overwhelming – physically, mentally, and spiritually. We wonder why we’re overweight, sick, and unhappy. Our bodies, our minds, and our souls aren’t made for the constant go-go-go. There has to be a balance. We have to allow ourselves time to relax, reflect, and rejuvenate.

I know it isn’t feasible to quit your day job, drop out of school, or move to the woods… But there is a lot that can be done amidst the hectic life we live.

But where do we start?

With gratitude.

It’s the only place to begin. It’s the only quality that breads fulfillment. It is what our hearts scream for.

So often I am lost in the plans and expectations of where I 'should' be, what I desire and crave, that I spoil what is already in front of me. I can't see it. I become blind to the obvious. Too close to touch.

And then I remember,
I woke up this morning, this is my life, what am I going to do with it? True happiness is to enjoy the present. Realize that what you have is sufficient and in most cases much more than you could ever need. Be here, in this moment, with this breathe and take a second to smile for all the gifts you’ve been granted. This life is a blessing, you’ve just got to wipe away the cloudy haze.

So, how can I get there?

By slowing down.

In order for me to get out of my head [my thoughts, plans, expectations, worries, anxieties, ideas for the future, qualms of the past] I had to get into my heart. I replaced the stories of my mind with the feelings and emotions of what's going on RIGHT NOW, not yesterday and not tomorrow. Experience is in the body, not the mind. Slowing down allows you to enjoy the little moments, it lets you feel the subtleties within. It is the slow down that allows you to see things for what they really are. It opens you up to enjoy and appreciate the finer details. 

It is so easy to be swept up by the distractions, the bills and responsibilities, the to-do list's and overarching demands of life in this consuming culture....
But sometimes you can find a slice of stillness.
Sit with it. Step back. Take a second to notice.

You woke up today. 
You are living.
This is your life.

All the choices you have made have brought you to this point. You have everything you need, now the only thing you have to do is take a second to appreciate it.