Beware Of The Quickening!

quickeningIt’s happening to you right now and you may not even be aware of it.
Have you noticed how when you ask someone how they are, about 80% of people reply “Busy!”
Have you noticed how many people walk along the footpath looking at their phone?
Have you noticed how when people push the ‘WALK’ button at the traffic lights, they will push it three or four times?

See , I’ve just arrived in Byron Bay to prepare for our retreat. If you don’t know Byron Bay, it’s a small coastal town on the east coast of Australia that is renown for amazing beaches, lots of retreats, yoga, meditation and healthy cafes. Straight way I can feel as I arrive here and settle into my accommodation by the forest everything slow down and my body surrender into ‘not doing’. It’s moments like these in places like this that I realise how much ‘doing’ I’ve been doing and how quick life has become! When I step back from the city and my life I realise how much I, WE, get swept up by the quickening of life. It’s happening right under our noses and yet most of us are unaware of it.

The other night I was watching a film with my family from the 80’s called The Color Of Money, which had Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in it. (I’m a movie buff and love watching films, yes, even Tom Cruise ones!) I was sharing with my kids how films back in the 80’s had much longer camera shots than they do today. We counted the seconds for many of the camera frames in the film and some of them were 10-15 seconds! Yet when we checked some recent films the camera shots were averaging 4-6 seconds per frame. Quickening.

Recently I was out with my mates for dinner and we were chatting about work and careers. One of them said he was thinking of leaving. I was surprised because he was earning really good money, he loved the job and he didn’t have any complaints about it. I asked why would he leave? He said, “Well, I’ve been there for 5 years now, and I just feel it’s time to move on.” Quickening.

Another friend of mine regularly updates me with her latest boyfriends. I asked her how does she meet all these people and get to know them so quickly. She said “It’s really simple now, with apps like Tinder and Happen you can find someone you like and meet up with them in no time.” Quickening.

There is a collective speeding up of life which is affecting everything, especially our attention span. Our minds are being condition to digest small tidbits of information from news feeds like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and our ability to stay focused on one thing for any length of time is being dramatically reduced. As a result we feel less contentment, and our minds are become addicted to the next bit of data, our nervous systems are frazzled and our bodies are deeply fatigued.

This is all leads to huge increases in ADHD, anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar and even suicide. The quickening isn’t going away though. It’s here to stay and it’s only going to speed up. The flow of information will get faster and faster. The good news is there is a way to thrive amongst this. Being aware of the quickening is the first step. Then taking action to counterbalance it is the second. There are a number of things we can do to offset this increase pace of life which I will share with you here:

1. Get out of the cities regularly. I don’t mean go to your local park in the middle of your city with a trillion kids yelling and screaming on swings and parents standing around with expensive cappuccinos in hand talking about the housing market. Drive miles right out into the open land where it’s quiet and still. One thing you will notice, the quickening is a human condition, nature is still moving at the same pace it always has.

2. Be mindful of doing one thing at a time. (Big reminder for me!) So when you are eating, just eat. When you are walking, just walk. When you are driving, just drive. Multi-tasking is one of the causes of this quickening and also the source of a huge increase in our stress levels.

3. Bring back gaps in your day of just sitting around. When I was a kid, we would always take morning and afternoon tea breaks on the farm. So at 11am and around 4pm, we would all stop what we were doing, sit on the front porch, and just sip a cup of tea doing nothing. Often there would be total silence as all 7 of us would just sit and ‘chill out’. No phones, no iPads, no technology. Weird I know, but beautiful!

4. Yep, I have to say it….MEDITATE. It’s a no brainer. Its a great technique that will give you respite from the quickening. In the stillness of meditation, you free yourself from the constant change of life and everything pauses. I recommend 20 minutes of meditation morning and afternoon. If you haven’t learnt to meditate yet and would like to, click here to find out how.

5. Sleep! The biggest anomaly I see in my students is fatigue. So many of us are exhausted as a result of this quickening! We have cut back sleep to a bare minimum so that we can charge ahead in life and get lots of ‘doing’ done. I try to have all technology off by 9.30pm and lights out by 10pm. I find I sleep better and wake up feeling much more refreshed than if I go to bed at 11pm or later.

These 5 tips should help you offset the quickening that’s occurring in our world today. You might have some other suggestions which we’d love to hear so please feel free to share them with us below. Stay chilled and slow down :)

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