At what point do you realize that slowing down is for the best?
When is it time for you to stop and realize it is for the best to slow down, relax and just enjoy the moment? Today’s post came about from many life events this week – my mother getting sick from letting herself get stressed and run down, witnessing people taking a “Tai Chi” break on their lunch hour and hearing about my favorite tennis player, Rafael Nadal, being out of tennis “indefinitely” – as the media puts it.
For most of my life, I have been go, go, go, with no end in sight. You know those moments, the ones where you are always striving for more. You work those long hours in hopes that your boss will give you a pat on the back, or that much needed raise or promotion. Overachieving to get your career in just the right spot, thinking that will help you respect yourself more. Taking up a hobby in hopes that you can make your life’s passion your career (if it’s not already), and spending countless hours at it. Where does it end? At what point do you say “Uncle”! Is it when life has completely passed you by? You find yourself stressed out, tapped out, with not much to show for it; except a nice car and a few stupid materialistic objects that you can’t take with you.
This week’s events were lessons in reminding me that I am moving my life in the right direction. It’s about surrounding yourself with good friends, family, and positive activities – that is life, that is real. Reality is not a fancy car, or a 6,000 sq ft house where you are the sole occupant. When I saw those few people, standing peacefully in a busy downtown Toronto park, meditating, doing Tai Chi; I realized it is those small moments that we take for ourselves that are important. No matter how many car horns are honking, or how many people are walking by noisily chattering, you can stop time for a moment. Still your mind, calm the waters and drown out all of life’s noises by taking a small moment for yourself. “Me time”.
My mother getting sick was a reminder of the fragility of it all. At any moment, we can be struck down with any number of illnesses – life stands still. No material object in the world is worth all the stresses we put on ourselves. Keeping yourself in a positive, worry free state of mind is key. Worry is like a festering wound that eventually strikes like lightning; either taking all or part of us. You never get it back.
Rafael Nadal, a super talented 26 year old tennis player, is sidelined – yet again – for a knee injury (tendinitis of the left knee). His whole life is tennis, it is all he has known since the age of three. Even someone of his success and greatness, came to the realization that it was time to slow down, realizing what is really important.
“At this stage in my career my ranking is of the least importance,” Nadal said. “The most important thing is that I am sure I am fit to compete like I did during the first six months of the year, with a solid chance to win in each tournament I enter. After being almost eight years (sic) ranked either first or second, I think that being ranked second or fourth or sixth doesn’t really change anything.” Quoted from Washington Post Sports – Matt Brooks http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/rafael-nadal-out-indefinitely-may-limit-future-schedule-to-prolong-career/2012/08/17/2e234722-e8ab-11e1-a3d2-2a05679928ef_blog.html
It is how well you do something to YOUR ability and how much you respect yourself. No other person and no material object in the world can bring you self respect – only you can do that. You are master of your realm, the keeper of your sanity, and you need to remember when it is time to slow down. I realized at the beginning of this year that money and material objects will get me nowhere. It was while I stood staring peacefully at a blazing Hawaiian sunset in anticipation of the illusive green flash, listening to the smooth lull of waves rolling in, that I realized – nothing material matters. The silence was broken by cheers and applause when the green flash came on the horizon. Imagine, a handful of complete strangers applauding a sunset and the magnificence of it – a shared moment between strangers that makes us all know we belong. It is the here and now and the happy company we surround ourselves with that makes life.