Slowly, Slowly

corrine smileWe all know that story of the tortoise and the hair. While researching for this newsletter I found out that there is some version of The Tortoise and The Hare in most cultures around the world. My husband Satya in his infinite wisdom tells me to either go slowly or drink water for just about everything you can think of…and the crazy thing is that it works, every time!

The Veda’s are ancient writings known to be 5,000 years old but many experts even go so far as to say they are 25,000 years old. They were an ancient, wise, nomadic people known as the Vedic Society. Much of what we know about math and science today was written about in the Veda’s thousands of years ago. Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning knowledge or wisdom. Ayurveda is a health system that comes out of the Veda’s. Hinduism is the oldest religion on the earth and also comes out of the Veda’s.

The Veda’s were an oral tradition for thousands of years and included the secrets of the universe including why we are here! About 5,000 years ago they finally started writing down all of the Veda’s in an ancient Sanskrit writing and it was eventually translated into books, some of which are called The Upanishads. There are over 200 Upanishads written and they are recognized in the literary world and by scholars as being one of the top 200 influential writings on earth.

I am writing about this because my Indian/Hindu husband Satya has been very much influenced by the Veda’s because of being raised a Brahman in India. The Veda’s say ‘if you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.’ That is pretty much what Satya says when he sees me spinning or confused or rushing…Lord knows never rush around an Indian, they don’t understand rushing at all.

Do you understand anything else other then rushing?

Every time I return from India, I transform and grow. This time I learned the importance of doing one thing at a time and to go slowly, slowly. We say everything twice in India just to make sure we get it!

The first thing that I noticed in India this trip was that I could only be there doing what had to be done in India. Sounds pretty simple right? Wrong. I had coaching clients who needed to connect with me and I just could not wrap my mind around their sessions. Now fortunately the universe took care of everything and my clients were all completely fine on their own for 5 weeks and in fact each one of them was ready to go it alone for awhile after weekly sessions with me for the past three or four months.

When I mentioned this on the phone to my friend Colleen, the fact that I could only be in India, doing India related things and be present there, she replied that there is nothing wrong with doing ONE THING AT A TIME. Now Colleen is a surgeon and so that makes sense for her. But wow, did that hit home all of a sudden for me, I got it. Seems logical right? But when is the last time YOU did one thing at a time. I mean when was the last time you chopped vegetables without having the tv on? When was the last time you drove without talking on the phone or listening to the radio? When was the last time you took a shower and thought of nothing but the water running down your naked body? I mean, how many things do we miss in the moment by mulit tasking?

Today I was at the bank. I went inside to say hi to my banker since I had been in India for 5 weeks. Do you know your banker? Okay, that is another newsletter altogether, but what I noticed as I stood in line at the teller was the people in the drive through. They were ALL on the phone as they pulled up to the LIVE teller. The teller could have been a machine for all they cared. It really struck me, especially after coming back from India where there are NO drive through banks!

I have a theory called the pizza theory. When you order a pizza and you are starving, it seems like an hour before the pizza arrives just 20 minutes later. When you answer the door you can smell the delicious pizza even as you hand over the money to the delivery guy. Then you rush over to the table to open the box and grab the first delectable bite. If you don’t burn your mouth on the first bite, it is the most amazing thing you have ever put in your mouth. Each bite the pizza tastes less and less amazing and by the 3rd piece it tastes kind of bad almost (although I did have a friend who once said that cold pizza was like sex, even when it’s bad, it’s pretty damn good!).

So why doesn’t the pizza taste as good by the time you eat the second and third piece? You are not full yet because your stomach does not get full that fast. It is your mind. Your mind was thinking about nothing but the pizza the first or maybe second bite. By the time you get to the second and third piece, you are surfing the tv or computer, talking to your spouse or kids, your mind is no longer present and you are once again multi tasking.

So the mantra this weekend is go slowly, slowly, (yes, add the extra slowly). There is a Buddhist mindfulness practice that I give to some of my students to try to tame their mind. You talk to yourself and tell yourself as you do things to help keep your mind in the present moment. I am getting into my car, I am starting the ignition, I am grabbing the stick shift and putting the car into first gear, I am pulling out of my driveway. I am driving down my street, my hands are on the steering wheel and it feels cold. My seat is also cold….and so on. Be as detailed as possible to keep your mind in the present.

Take a break from multi tasking and living in your head for just one day on the weekend. Your children do it really well, the little ones do anyway. We are teaching the bigger ones how to multi task by having them do multiple activities after school. But again, that is another newsletter.

Here’s to being present. The present is a gift and that is why it is called a PRESENT. Give yourself the gift of presence by slowing down and being present for the ones you love. It will change your life!