I was inspired to write today’s post after finally visiting the new Ripley’s Aquarium in the heart of downtown Toronto. My boyfriend Peter was visiting from Europe, so I had an excuse to slow it down and get out from under my mountain of work (one of the best perks of having visitors!).
Aside from fish-gazing and reigniting the respect I have for water creatures and ecosystems, I walked away with an important reminder of a message that seems to be all around us these days (one I too often forget).
If you’re moving too fast, you miss the beauty of the moment.
At Ripley’s Aquarium, there’s a slow-moving walkway that pulls you through an underwater journey of vibrant fish and corals, shark and stingray underbellies, and bubbling waves that rock gently across the glass tunnels overhead.
EXCEPT…when I first stepped onto this belt, I could physically feel a rush inside me, urging me to jump off and walk at my normal rapid pace. I mean, who in their right mind would need to go so slowly just to take in some fish, snap a few photos, and collect a few facts about them along the way?
It’s like when you’re driving along the highway at 120 km/hr and all of a sudden you’re behind someone who is driving 60 km/hr. It can be downright frustrating! If you’re like me, it’s only a matter of seconds before you flip on your signal to pass that driver.
So why bother slowing down?
Because if you’re running through life speedy Gonzales style, you only scrape the surface of the beauty, depth and peace that’s everywhere around you. Something you can only feel when you’re immersed in the present moment.
Catching myself in my inner restlessness, I reminded myself that I had nowhere else to be. I turned up the curiosity volume about what was happening in the tank. I chose to embrace the pace of the moving belt.
And you know what happened?
I felt myself relax. I felt my mind open up. I noticed I was making connections between what was happening in the tank and what happens in life. I easily accessed my creativity and began making up stories about what the fish must be ‘saying’ to each other. I was more connected to the different forms of life around me, and I’m sure even Peter noticed that I was more present.
This is what happens when you allow yourself to embrace the slower pace once in a while. The discomfort goes away, and that’s when you can fully experience your surroundings. You give your left brain a break which allows your creative right brain a chance to show up and wow you! You get that feeling you have on day three of your beach vacation when you’re relaxed, peaceful, and just loving life.
Don’t let life pass you by because you’re on “busy autopilot”. Stop treating your life like a to-do list. And please do not wait to do this until you get sick because your soul is ordering you to slow down.
I want you to fully enjoy all the gifts that life has to offer you because you deserve it – now! And we all need this reminder, right? Wink.
This week’s mission: Embrace a slower pace. Put a reminder right now in your calendar for two days this week to cut your pace down in half. This could be the pace at which you walk, the speed at which you eat, or even the pace you speak at! Slow it down and notice what you…well…notice!
I would love to hear from you about how you plan to slow it down. Will you be turning the TV off and enjoying a slow meal without distractions? Will you be putting a few “mindful minutes” in your Google calendar to snap you out of productivity mode?
Let us know in the comments below! With your insights, we grow together.