Since I left the Netherlands with my horses two years ago, I became convinced that slowing down, is a true art to be mastered. One of the greatest things I have achieved since we left, is to live my life more slowly. No longer my life is organized by the clock, agenda or to-do-lists. I am no longer doing twenty things at the same time, with only twenty percent of my attention.
My lessons about the importance of slowing down, I got from Meknes and Nikka during our first pilgrimage. They were not getting fit and instead of walking 25-30 km a day, we did 10-15 km. Even if I had no other choice than to slow down, I experienced how much it brought me. I discovered that by slowing down, I lived more in the here-and-now, and that I had time to make real contact with my horses and the people we met. I enjoyed the simple things in life more. By learning to listen to the rhythm of Meknes and Nikka, I gained a life full of quality.
The rhythm of nature
After the walking, I kept the slower rhythm, as it felt more natural to me. Now, I wake up with the light of the day instead of an alarm, and instead of doing ten activities in a day, maybe I do four. When I am with the horses, I spend time adapting to their rhythm of grazing, breathing, walking, exploring, relaxing, drinking, grooming, browsing and discussing over chestnuts.
What it brings me
As I do less in a day, I put my attention consciously. I choose to make time for what is most important to me, which are my horses, friends and nature. By slowing down, it became easy to have my attention in the here-and-now. Now I can connect more, feel more, be aware more, be present more, and be a better friend for my horses. Because I have the patience to adapt to the rhythm of Meknes and Nikka, I get a quality of togetherness, which I never thought it would be possible. Now I have quality time over quantity time.
Through my experience, I became convinced that the fast speed of living in western societies is not healthy for us. In the Netherlands I saw how stressed people were, to get their day organised. More productivity and money, does not automatically make us happier. True happiness comes from enjoying the ‘small’ things in life, which we can notice better if we slow down. I am sure, that if we truly slow down, we would have less mental (and physical) problems, as our brain (and body) gets time to process our experiences in life.
Slowing down is an art to be mastered.