One of the more profound commitments to myself that I’ve made this year is to slow down. Why? I realised I was no longer enjoying myself. It wasn’t for lack of opportunity for fun, but that the pace I thought was natural for me, busy, striving, accomplishing, wasn’t, and it wasn’t conducive to pleasure, either.
Give me a day to myself and I’d pack so much into it that I’d forget to enjoy myself. The problem with this way of being is, the better part of pleasure and happiness is relaxation, and relaxation has an easy pace. This inability to slow down not only caused my serotonin to dip…it even trickled down into the most intimate parts of my life – my sex life. Dear reader, my ability to enjoy sexual intimacy stopped. Even with all the right elements in place (atmosphere, mood, well rested-ness) orgasm can be an exceedingly delicate, mysterious feat for any woman, but without truly and deeply slowing down, making the space and time to calm down and be present to the body and senses, that ultimate surrender is elusive.
Slowing down is anathema to our culture, and it’s our economic culture that puts increasing pressure on each of us to just keep up. However, when we don’t disengage, we pay the price in our emotional, relational, sexual, spiritual, inner lives.
Which is why I made a boldly radical move (for me) this summer. I decided to work exactly 2 hours less every day. At first I needed to stringently hold myself to this schedule, schedule it like clockwork, because being the work-addict I am, given the opportunity I would cheat even on my self. But over these past few months, a deeper shift in understanding about my own truer, natural pace has replaced the initial need for taskmaster-like discipline. Over time I am discovering that when I slow down and listen to: my body, to the seasons, the weather, my intuition, emotions, I am guided by a rhythm and flow that is naturally elegant and efficient.
In fact, when I am in this slow, easy and present space, I don’t work as hard, and I even seem to attract more of what I need, like money, things and events that make me happy because I am in harmony with myself. I still experience stress. But my new go-to response is: slow, present and easy. I have lately been aided in presence by occasional flare-ups of chronic muscle pain, a holdover from Fibromyalgia. It goes, and it comes, and when it’s here for awhile- as it has been the past few weeks- it is blinding, all-encompassing. Pain demands presence. Nothing else exists. Pain is a great teacher in being present, with accepting what is.
I had always thought the bodily arrhythmia I experience — the tendency to feel environmentally, emotionally, physically pressured & stressed– was in my genetic makeup. To some degree it is. But we are alive during a time of tremendous stress. The Earth is stressed with so many pollutants and because it’s all connected, our bodies have been similarly weakened. It is truly devastating, and a few weeks ago I went into what I can only call extreme grief over the state of the planet. As a balance, to handle the levels of intense feelings arising (Scorpio), I had to go even more slowly, eat better, ground myself (Taurus). Whereas intense Scorpio researches conspiracy theories, chemtrails and all too easily (and sadly, often correctly) envisions the world as going to hell in a handbasket, relaxed Taurus plants organic vegetables for her autumn harvest stew, finds a nice spot of sun, then takes a nap. Scorpio’s poker hot truth can be so painful, to which Taurus answers: take it easy. Too much truth & pain is a sign to slow down, be present and to relax.
Where in your life would slowing down, taking an easy, relaxed approach better serve you? An attitude of taking it easy, a commitment to finding your natural rhythm, a desire to be still and present can change everything, vicariously allowing abundance & pleasure – sensual and material – to flow your way. Life is not meant to be an uphill battle. We are here, as the Dalai Lama says, to be happy. It is our purpose. I know happiness and pleasure are not one in the same, but I also know pleasure is a willing and true servant of happiness. May this Taurus Full Moon grant us the peace & the pace of pleasure.