In an effort to do all we have to do, arrive where we are headed and achieve all we want to achieve, we take in life by the mouthful and gulp it down. Consequently, we deprive ourselves of its sights, sounds, aromas, flavours and textures. We miss out on its rhythms and energy. Surely, we want to shift gears and live our lives fully aware, appreciative and in touch with all that it offers.
These suggestions will help.
Slow down. Drivers overtake on the shoulder of the highway, break the speed limit and slice through on the dividing line, only to meet a red traffic light. We too might be racing headlong, side-swiping people who may need a kind word and a helping hand. Plus, when we slam on our brakes, at one of life’s intersections, we realize that we arrived nowhere fast and with nothing to show for it. We need to slow down and sip the satisfaction that comes from: approaching our daily activities with mindfulness, setting and maintaining personal boundaries and choosing commitments in tandem with our available time and energy levels.
Give thanks. Ingratitude often takes us down the dark road of discontent and depression. We should take some time, every day to sip at the fountain of our blessings. They will help us stay joyful and hopeful in any circumstance.
Nourish our minds. Without nourishment, our minds become soft and lose their capacity to recall and appreciate the past, assimilate new information and generate creative ideas. Our minds stay supple when we sip the information, lessons and inspiration from events, people and issues, from the past as well as the present.
Understand our emotions. It’s not unusual to nurse emotions we don’t understand. Either we can’t pinpoint their origins or we are puzzled by their intensity. Reflection, writing in our journals and a heart-to-heart with someone we trust will help us to sip clarity and apply it to our lives.
Engage with our senses. Life passes in a blurry rush when we don’t see the sights, hear the sounds, inhale the aromas, taste the flavours and touch its textures. To engage with life fully, we should sip and savour its treasures with all of our senses.
Connect on a deeper level. The busyness of life can leave little time for the true, deep, rich and lasting intimacy that fuels our relationships. We need to siphon time from some of life’s rush and race to sip at the feet of soulful connections with people. We could initiate, cultivate and maintain meaningful connections with inspiring conversations, shared experiences and activities and support for one another’s aspirations.
Dream with abandon. We can’t afford to limit ourselves to our short-term goals or the priority items on our to-do lists. Rather, we should wallow in the possibilities of the future. We must define and visualize our dreams, ask questions, make plans…. It is important for us to sip the excitement of the adventure and sip our dreams fulfilled.
It is difficult to appreciate and enjoy the real treasures of life when we’re focused on honouring our commitments and pushing our personal and professional agendas. Yet, even in the midst of the jumble, hassle and speed of it all, we need to sip life, not gulp it down. We discover and enjoy the true treasures of life when we observe, listen, inhale and feel them in small, slow doses. A life well-lived – in all its fullness and richness – is a life we take time to sip. Let us step back from the rush that characterizes how we live and sip life.
(Published in the Trinidad Guardian’s Womanwise Magazine Sunday 21st October, 2012)