Fast Relief, Try Slowing Down
by S. J. Connolly-Reisner
At what point do we allow ourselves to
dissolve into the current of our daily lives? For me, I was 28 when I
realized I had stopped enjoying the simple things. I had allowed myself to
be consumed by anxiety and stress. I was always in a hurry to get
somewhere even when I had nowhere to go. Why? For two years I’ve
been pondering this question.
Somewhere along the line I ceased allowing time for myself. As a child and
young adult I always made time to do those things I enjoyed. I also felt
very connected to people, nature, and myself. As I got older things
changed. Suddenly it was all about getting things done faster, better, and
The realization that I had lost myself came to me when I was diagnosed
with unexplained infertility at the mere age of 29. In searching for
answers a tiny thought crossed my mind. “What if I’m just too stressed
I drove by a church late one September afternoon. On the sign out front
was a simple message. “For fast relief, try slowing down.” I thought
little of it as I drove by. But for some reason the phrase buried itself
in my subconscious. Mind you I’m not a religious person. For me,
spirituality is something unique and personal between the individual and
I’ve been meditating since I was 17 years old. At 28, my meditation
practice did not seem to help me as much as it once did. Then a friend
told me about yoga. I began my yoga practice two years ago. It’s funny
because it is the only exercise I’ve ever been able to stick with. Soon
after beginning yoga, my meditation practice dramatically changed. I would
do yoga, then meditate. What I had lost in meditation over the years came
back slowly, and that feeling of wholeness and connectivity was renewed.
So why is it that we allow ourselves to be swept away by life, while
forgetting the simple pleasures of silence with the self, and our
individual link to everything that is? I think, after two years, I am
beginning to understand the answer. Our world of constant external
stimulation draws our focus away from those things that truly matter.
Through external stimuli we are conditioned to see only what we are fed
from our televisions, radios, and computer screens. I think we sometimes
forget about simple things like compassion, tolerance, and love. Both for
others and ourselves. We push ourselves to act out our lives as external
stimulus dictates. We forget who we truly are.
As I do my sun salutations in the morning, my body, mind, and spirit open
me up to the simple pleasures of being alive. Of feeling like I am at one
with nature and a part of the whole. Once again, that little phrase pops
into my head. “For fast relief, try slowing down.” This time, however,
it has meaning. If I’ve learned anything in the past two years it is
this: Slowing down and taking the time to reconnect is sometimes all it
takes to pull yourself out of the rat-race, and to live in the present
moment, enjoying it, just because it simply is.
S.J. Connolly-Reisner is a freelance
writer with one short story, numerous non-fiction articles, and one
non-fiction book to her credit. She is currently working on a fiction
novel, and two more non-fiction titles.