Life is a bit mental. A jungle of noise, movement,visions, stimulations, constantly competing for our attention. Living in the 21st century, with every technology on earth available to ensure we have no concept of time and space anymore, this seems to be the norm. We have instant access to news, emails, information, people, things – you name it, it’s only a few clicks on a screen away. Any time. Sometimes I think back to a few years ago when this wasn’t quite that extreme. I remember when my friends sent me letters and the excitement when I found a letter addressed to me. People actually took time to put pen to paper! People only watched the news on TV. People didn’t take photos of their food and uploaded it on social media. People just ate food! People have access to their work emails on their phones and answer those late at night. We can be part of everyone’s life at any point in time, even if we haven’t met them or they live on the other side of the globe. As a result of this erosion of time and space, our lives have become increasingly hectic and so stuffed full with appointments, endless to-do lists and meetings that we barely have time to take stock, breathe and recuperate. It’s 0 to 60 from the moment we get up, until our heads hit the pillow. I read cases of burn-out, people being signed off from work with stress, people getting pills for stress, people going to meditate for stress, people doing yoga for stress,…life seems to be passing by whilst we are stressed by life. What has happened to us as a species? We’ve worked so hard during all of history to rid ourselves from being oppressed and now we are ruled by a 24/7 lifestyle that is running us ragged, burning us out. The other night I had a brief taster of being taught mindfulness. When I sat there, trying to let my thoughts slow down and be there in the moment, I noticed how difficult this was for me. My mind tried to run away and make lists, make plans, organise 101 things. Why is it so hard to just stop and be in the moment?
A few days ago I was running around as per usual, picking up dirty washing whilst brushing my teeth and searching for the baby’s teething ring, checking my phone every five seconds for some kind of update on the world and my life, and barking orders at my 3 year old daughter to get ready. She, on the other hand, stood still and looked at me, shaking her head. “Slow down Mama!” Her words hit me harder than anything else physically could have in that moment. Amazed by her observation and perception of the world around her, I stopped. And smiled. And hugged her tight. Her words have stayed with me ever since and I have slowed down, made an effort to be more present in the moment rather than trying to keep up with the world and its hectic non-stop circus of information overload. I try hard to enjoy the there and then. In the end, no matter how fast the world runs away with itself, those I love and care about are more important than any race of time and space. “Slow down Mama!” – I will baby, I will.