I saw the sign(s) 2.1.22

Cue the Ace of Base! I realize that referenced may have aged me out of some circles. I digress….

Anyway, I believe that God/ the Universe / sends you signs of the lessons you are meant to learn in this lifetime. The signs start smaller, but if you miss the lesson, the next sign will be louder, and louder, and louder… until eventually it kicks you in the face so boldly that you can’t ignore it.

In reflecting on both the personal signs of the last two years, (as well as a universal sign I believe for humanity,) one message is clear to me: slow down.

Our society rewards fast and more. Quick results. Instafame. The latest trend. More of more. Etc. The problem with moving so fast is that while you can accomplish a lot, you don’t really enjoy it, the feeling doesn’t last and it’s not efficient because you don’t really learn.

Candidly, moving fast has worked for me most of my life. I could overcome most obstacles by just out-working any situation (until the pandemic.) And because I overcame, it only rewarded the behavior.

As my kids got older and I realized how much time had passed by so quickly, and I had an awareness- the first step. It was a big reason for our move to CA almost seven years ago. That said, knowing is not doing. I know slowing down, observing, learning and resting are incredibly important for my happiness and success (which I define differently today than 10 years ago,) yet I still struggle with the consistent practice of it.

So what does the universe provide? Because the pandemic wasn’t loud enough for me to internalize the lesson, I was sent two louder signals (health-related) back-to-back that got my attention. (Don’t worry, all is well now!) The second one forced me to slow down for a couple weeks, because it was part of the recovery process. So I was literally FORCED to slow down. And in that time, I finally was able to receive the message. OK, Universe- I HEAR YOU!

So fast forward to this moment, I have a deeper sense of knowing, yet still feel a strong urge to “be productive.” A virtual to-do list scrolls through my head of things I “should” be doing on this Sunday afternoon, (though I reminded myself, I don’t do “to do” lists anymore, I schedule my priorities, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, refer to my blog post here.) But, I interrupt that visual and remember that I am in choice! I choose to quiet the noise in my head, put this life lesson into practice, let go of the “shoulds,” and decide that after this post, I will pick up a book to read simply for joy!

I can hear many of you saying to yourself, “but I don’t have that kind of time.” “I wish I had time to read a book,” etc. And that may or may not be true in this moment. I might challenge you to look at your calendar and compare your time against your priorities. Of course it’s not that simple, but it creates a reality check moment for yourself that can be quite humbling (speaking from personal experience.)

In either case, good news- all is well, because you don’t need a lot of time to practice slowing down. You can re-ground yourself in just a few moments, and the more you practice it, the better you’ll get! In fact, here are a few examples (12 in fact,) of ways to slow down and practice self-care that you can do in ten minutes or less. If you don’t have the ability to give yourself a couple ten minute breaks in a day, then you need to audit your time and make some choices.

If you are not wired this way, it may be hard to understand. Sometimes, I wish I could feel good just binge watching TV all weekend, but the reality is that I still struggle to be comfortable for long periods of rest. So practicing in short increments daily (sometimes just a two-minute tea meditation is all I need!) is a way I started growing myself into the idea of it.

Our life is a work-in-progress, so I accept this part of me with grace while I also practice continuing to grow into my best self and re-wiring my brain, even though it’s uncomfortable, because I truly believe this is a life lesson I am meant to learn.

My hope is that it doesn’t take that loud of a signal for you, and that you learn to catch your lesson when it’s smaller and less painful!