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Slowing Down Doesn’t Mean Stopping

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

At the age of seven, I was absolutely sure it was at least two or more years between each Christmas. As an “almost” teenager, it felt like a million days would pass before I turned the official 13, so I could enter that magical world of grownups. When I was pregnant, I felt like an elephant carrying its babies for 22 months, and now in my sixth decade, the days seem to pass by at mach speed. What happened? How in the world did 2016 arrive when I am still thinking, “Wasn’t it just a few years ago we were all at the jardín celebrating the turn of the century?”

Slowing down and everything that might be construed by these words was discussed in my monthly Live Like You Can Women’s Discussion Group. As “boomers and beyonders,” our group is an interesting mix of wisdom, life experiences, and backgrounds. After getting our initial “whoa, not me” out of the way, we explored the benefits of slowing down at this time of our lives.

Personally, going slower to avoid hurrying through my life and possibly being surprised by the ending continues to be the main motivator for taking a look at this subject. In l998 Joan Halifax Roshi, Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, gave our meditation retreat group a few words to remember about being in our lives right here and now.  She said, “Remember with every breath you take, the Lord of Death is racing towards you.”  At first I thought this was pretty harsh and scary; however, as I continued to ponder on one of life’s absolute universal truths shared by all, I became comfortable with the security that life will end. And the more often I remember this, the more likely I am to slow down and “smell the roses!”

Each of us being clearly in our “third acts,” we discussed the vital importance of taking time now to reflect, pause, and evaluate just how, where, with whom, and on what we want to spend our energy. We discussed what outside committees we were allowing to dictate the daily decisions that were eating up our days. While we agreed that the answer felt like “remnants” from the past, we named ourselves as the CEO in charge of stopping us from doing what we really want to do.

One woman shared her dream of watching the sun come up, move across the sky, and drop below the horizon, completely being with the experience without commitments or dealing with details (and yet, there was the bed to be made!) We loudly resounded, “Fire the CEO,” and yesterday I received an email sharing her day with the sun passing with a sense of freedom and being in the moment. Can we fire the CEOs of our committees and rethink what we want our days to hold now? Yes, we can. It takes slowing down and evaluating what we are doing now, what we no longer want to do, and deciding what we want in this time of our lives. Giving ourselves the gift of stillness, aloneness, and reflection is the “gift that keeps on giving.”

Janis McDonald, master functional aging trainer, certified wellness coach, private training gym offering Power Plate and private small group training with Joe Hernandez, Power Plate Pro, 152 0457. Follow the Live Like You Can Blog! Go to


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