I was able to attend some great training and teaching over the weekend… it was simultaneously inspiring and humbling.
Humbling because of the areas in my life that I saw more clearly I needed to work on and improve.
Inspiring because, I was filled with a non-guilt driven desire to make the needed changes, and filled with the hope and confidence that I could.
One of the insights that kicked it off for me was this statement was from a speaker whose main theme was the importance of slowing down the pace of our lives.
He said, “When we consume so fast there is no time for us to appreciate anything, and that a sense of appreciation is vital to giving our lives a great sense of meaning and purpose.”
I was like what?!
Did he just say Elevated Appreciation equals Elevated Living?
And that being more intentional in our appreciation of things will bring a greater sense of meaning and purpose into our lives?
(I already knew this… but I needed to know it again… and I knew that I needed to live it more intentionally.)
As the reality, remembrance, and possibility of this truth settled on me my mind began to race through my memory banks seeking for my life experiences that validated it. The moments where I had been less appreciative of things because of the frantic pace of life, and times when I had slowed the pace of my consumption of things and felt a greater sense of appreciation, meaning and purpose in the moment. The memories and examples were plentiful for me as I suspect they are for you.
An easy but perhaps not very attractive example, is one of me eating. Too often the goal of my eating isn’t to taste, enjoy or appreciate my food as much as it is to simply to consume it. The result of this mindless consumption is often poor choice of what I consume, not much appreciation for it as it’s consumed, and poor digestion after it’s consumed. Studies have shown time and again that even the healthiest foods hurriedly consumed, poorly chewed deliver far less of their nutritional potential to our bodies.
For me, to truly enjoy or appreciate my meal requires some intention and self talk. When Rebecca and I are on a date without the kids, we have learned to remind ourselves to slow down, savor each bite as well as each moment in between each bite. For us it’s been a real challenge and journey to learn to slow down in this one area. But it’s been a journey worth making and the joy resulting from it helped to bring more meaning and purpose back into our meals and our marriage.
There are many other examples that might be shared….and I am sure you have many that you could share as well.
I am connected with many of you on Instagram. Last week I posted a picture of a Rose that I took time to stop and smell while shopping at Home Depot. In the rush of that consuming day…it’s unfortunately the only picture I took. And the memory associated with it, was one of sharing with our 3 year old son Joseph the wonderful smell of roses. He is a very cute sniffer by the way, and while I didn’t capture him sniffing the rose… I did later as he helped me plant some other flowers.
Naturally after a hard day of planting 8 flowers you need to get changed and go enjoy a Jamba Juice.
It was not a perfect day, but it was day filled with perfect moments. And that is a pretty good day in my book.
Was there room for improvement? Sure! But I did my best to slow down… and today I am going to do it again. 🙂
What are some examples from your life where you have learned to slow down your consumption and elevate the meaningfulness in your own life?
What can/will you do today to increase your own sense of meaning and purpose by being more intentional in elevating your appreciation?
I think you might get a kick out of the book How to Train a wild Elephant. Tiny weekly mindfulness tips for one year. A favorite of mine is to simply use your non dominant hand for one week. Talk about being mindful while you are eating!
My family had great fun with this little volume. One week we just noticed the color blue. Little stuff that made a big change in our lives, just because we slowed down to the speed of life.
Hi Kirk –
Thank you for this post. I will be more mindful and slow down when I get home from work and greet my family. I’m usually in too much of a rush to change my clothes, check the mail, get dinner started. I will greet each of my family members with my whole self.
Have a great week!
thank you for your great comment and example of commitment to your self and family.