I started with an experiment to intentionally slow down for a month. But what I ended up getting is a gift I am keeping forever.
How I Slowed Down
In case you feel like trying this yourself, here is how I planned it.
It takes many boundaries to slow down.
It wasn’t a “slow” season for me. To give myself time to slow down, I intentionally reduced my work hours for the month. I didn’t completely stop working.
The purpose was to not feel "busy" with a busy schedule.
I explained this to my clients. I was really surprised by their response. Some of my clients loved the idea and decided to do their own version of this experiment. I saved some work hours to be sure my clients were seen and getting the support they needed from me. But I want to be honest and share that reducing work hours was an important part of slowing down.
I had to slow everything down, not just some things.
There was no expectation
of how I would feel or what I would do. I decided I
would not start any new work or home projects. As tempting as it was with time on my hands, I decided that just filling it with projects would not allow me to know what slowing down was. I would just be distracted with other things to get done.
In addition to no projects, I made minimal commitments to leave space to be spontaneous. This allowed me to see the weather and decide what I wanted to do. We had a smoke filled sky from wild fires, rain on a Saturday, and I had the space to be present, flexible and decide what would be fun to do based on the weather. I didn't feel disappointed by the weather. It didn't matter.
I moved slowly. I was not feeling hurried.
I noticed a picnic basket that had been unused. So I used it and went on picnics.
I found myself being spontaneous, more flexible with my time. I had time to spare! It is a feeling of spaciousness.
I felt my own creativity tingling on my skin. It was like creativity was bubbling on my surface. New doorways to my imagination opened.
I felt more patient. Waiting was easy and even pleasant.
I noticed the absence of pressure. In fact, things that came in that could give me a
feeling of pressure, were set aside in a box, to deal with when I
The volume of input moving towards me from news, social media, mail, phone, text, email, felt like it was now under my control. It didn't go away, I chose to quiet media interruptions, not respond immediately, and protect the feeling of slowing down.
Playing and slowing down go very well together.
I felt my inner child joyful and eager to make contact with me. Anything I did choose to do, had to align with my inner child. I returned to guitar lessons. I spent time with friends. Lots of time
with friends. I had a week of making my own day camp with a friend of 40 years.
had unhurried time with a friend who is very sick.
I signed up for fun workshops to learn how to dye yarn with natural indigo and I followed the trail to become a SoulCollage® facilitator.
I did something I always wanted to do, river rafting.
It was easier to catch mistakes, oversights, overcharges. I had time to read receipts. When I am too busy, it is easy to miss things.
The Big A-HA
What started as something I was doing for a month, slowing down, has become something really significant. I imagined if I liked it, I might do it annually. But it turns out I am not willing to give this up eleven months of the year.
It is my new priority. I will continue to simply live slower.
I am returning to my clients in our normal schedule. My work feels intentional, calm, deliberate, and it allows me to focus with each person. I love my client hours. Meaningful, unhurried, slow, deep conversations.
Outside of my client hours, I am doing some rethinking to ensure I am protecting this boundary to slow down. I am leaving open space, unscheduled hours around me and being much more careful about how I use my weekend time, my evening hours, my mornings, to be more spontaneous.
Being present is how I show up in the moment. But having all my moments planned in advance, doesn't allow me to show up spontaneously. And I discovered that having spontaneous moments is what I needed most.
The Joy of Being Spontaneous
Posted by Sarri Gilman
I learned the healing power of boundaries first with myself, then by teaching it to many others. I am the author of Transform Your Boundaries and Naming and Taming Overwhelm. My next book is on Trauma and Recovery. I am a psychotherapist with more than 3 decades of experience. But my experience has not been limited to a small room with a couch. I also ran 3 non-profit organizations for 20 years, founding 2 of those orgs and taught leadership 7 years. Making boundaries easier has become my life purpose. I believe many of our conflicts, stress, and difficulties comes from the need to develop a deeper understanding about boundaries. I have webinars and workshops to help you grow your abilities.