For many years, I have attended a retreat at the beginning of a new year, usually a Continuum depth retreat in California with Emilie Conrad & Susan Harper. It is auspicious to begin the new year, dropping down in a community, attending to sensation, following impulse moment to moment, to move, to sound, to explore, to dream, to reflect, to play and to pray. This year, I decided to take the opportunity to spend a week over new year’s at our waterfront cabin on Cortes Island. I wanted to give myself an opportunity to attend in my own way to the silence and quiet that is so persuasive in that incredibly beautiful place, to explore and tune into other sentient beings and to follow my own impulses and dreams. During the week, although there were difficult times, I ended up feeling quiet, restored, lightened and so very sloooowed down. I offer you this piece, my Ode to Slowness.
Slowing down is not just an outward, physical event, but also an internal one, to a point of the most minimal breath I can take. To be truly resonant and participate with the biological rhythms around us, one has to slow way down. “The Earth and the human body have a resonance that links us in a biological field that is different than the technological world.”
The view of separateness prevalent in our culture, possibly creates all the problems in the world. It leads to a fragmented world view and destructive behaviour. Children are our canaries and the age at which violent behaviour is emerging is getting younger and younger. Damasio, a prominent neuro scientist, states that research shows the brains of children are changing, specifically the disconnection between the neo cortex and the emotional and sensory areas. In reality, everything in the universe is interconnected, as quantum physics so clearly articulates. To restore that sense of interconnectedness, we also need to slow down so we can enter into a state of mutual resonance.
The process of slowing down, attuning to the silence and natural rhythms was enhanced by my being on Cortes Island. Seeing the old year out and the new year in, the setting of the sun and the rising of the full moon, the birds flying over the water, their shadow reflected on the ocean, the ducks in their V-formation gliding along, the ever-changing patterns of the wind on the lakelike ocean that is Gorge Harbour, the amazing changes in the weather from sunny, peaceful and still to gales of wind and rain pouring out of the heavens.
From “Red,” Terry Tempest Williams says,
“it takes time to slow down and recover a rhythm in my heart that moves my body first and my mind second.” “There is no such thing as wasting time.” “Time is something encountered through the senses not imposed upon the mind.” “What we know…is translated through the body,” leaving “our minds free to wander” and to wonder, allowing new possibilities to emerge. “Space is the twin sister of time.” When we slow down, the shape of time and space shifts, spaciousness enters our realm and there is time “to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray, to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten, but our bodies remember.”
How do I translate this, carry this emergence back to city life? It is in a practice, in making time for that remembering. If you want a plant to grow, you have to attend to it and nurture it, give it what it needs. So too this seed we plant within ourselves. It is also very helpful to practice in a group on a regular basis, to be in the resonant field, amplifying my individual experience. It is the reason why I keep teaching ongoing classes (for my sake as much as the participants). And yes, take the opportunity to spend time (if you can, at least a week) in wilderness, in a natural setting.
With love and blessings for the new year, Doris