The urgency of sitting still

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Yesterday I spent two and a half hours in a wonderful restorative yoga workshop with Adrianna Zaccardi, someone who just holds space so beautifully, generously and intuitively.

When I booked the workshop I thought – god is this the most indulgent thing I could possibly do; pay to spend time lying on cushions under a blanket? Turns out it was indulgent, but also vital.

Adrianna said something at the end of class that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about; she said (and I hope I’ve got this right) “in a time of constant distraction, it’s never been more important to pay attention, in a time of constant movement it’s never been more urgent to sit still.”

From the outside I seem to sit still a lot. When I am forced to stop by my body it’s a physical stopping but mentally and emotionally I probably couldn’t be more wired. Pain throws my central nervous system into chaos, my brain goes into overdrive analysing the pain, trying to pin it down, forecast its duration; anxiety blooms as I worry about all the things I should be doing, all the people I am letting down and anger, despair and resentment flood through me.

All of this – and a fascinating conversation with a pain specialist about control – means I’ve been thinking a lot about slow living lately – being in tune to what’s happening around us, what’s happening within us and in nature and I realise that being forced into inactivity by pain is not this.

So today I am trying to move more slowly, with more intention and less judgment. I’ve made myself some herbal bath salts, I’ve created more space around me, my phone is in another room, my lunch is in the oven and my cats have had a lot of love.

Does anyone else feel the call of the slow life?