2 ways to slow yourself down

Suzanne McDermott
Watercolor, 5 x 7

It's August

Time to slow down.

Slowing down is a good thing. If we want to be centered, mindful and connect with other people and the world around us, we have to slow down. Some of us can slow down naturally but most of us need some sort of therapeutic remedy to knock us out of our break-neck pace and obsession with incessant waves of thinking.

Take advantage of the high heat of summer. Allow your pace to adjust to the temperature.

Be lazy! You have permission. Laying off work is a tradition in some places. Most of Europe goes on vacation. Paris empties out. New York psychiatrists abandon their patients.
"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."
—Sam Keen
2 ways to slow yourself down

Immerse yourself in water

Whether you can pop down to the shore and wade into the ocean, dive into your local pool or lower yourself into the bathtub, submerging your body in water is a phenomenal way to chill and I don't mean cool off (although it should do the trick!)

The ocean.
Salt water heals. When I was a little girl and would scrape my toe or knee at the beach, my father would look at it and say, "Go on into the ocean. That's the best thing for you." He was right, of course. The salt water cleaned my superficial wound and started the healing process. More than that, though.

As JFK once said:
"...we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean."
The pool.
I prefer to not swim in chlorinated water but if that's what you have, then use it. When I go to a pool, I work out rather than hang out. Lap after lap after lap. If that sounds like you, try taking easy laps with breast stroke.

The tub.
My mother used hydrotherapy when I was particularly cranky and unruly as a child. She'd draw a bath and put me in. It worked. I calmed down almost immediately.

It's great to use salts or essential oils or jets but honestly, just putting yourself into water will do the trick. Your brain will change and your body will experience immediate relief.

Draw

Pick up a pen or a pencil and draw something in front of you. For fun. Who cares what it looks like? Who's going to see it but you? What it looks like at the end is not the point here.

In this case, the point of drawing is to relieve your mind and to slow yourself down long enough to look at something carefully enough to make a drawing of some sort.

Just doodle if you can't stand the idea of drawing from life. The very act of moving a pen point around on paper will do the trick.

In Roz Chast's writing workshop, she has her students doodle. Here's why:
"I think we doodle to shut the left side of the brain up, like, during a meeting when that's really, really boring. I think it's sort of like having a kid with a crayon. It's like, I know you want to talk through all this, but just draw. So, I found that it's much easier to listen and concentrate if I'm actually drawing, like a little doodle."
Speaking of which

One of the main reasons I teach drawing and watercolor is to help people slow down, get real, bypass racing thoughts, be present in real time. The tools we use in my courses are pencils, pens, brushes, water, color, and paper. We start at the very beginning so that your creative house will always stand on a solid foundation. Whether you have no experience or some experience, your foundation is critical.

As you practice drawing and watercolor, you begin to notice that the light, your experience of time, your perspective, is always changing. Your experience in any moment is never to be repeated. You can't catch it with a camera, but looking back over drawings and watercolors brings some ineffable reminder of connection to a place in time. Because you slowed down enough to connect to your actual experience.

Join us for an awesome training in slowing down, getting to know yourself better and learning to practice and understand drawing and painting as a path to self-realization.

Register in advance for my Online Course in Drawing and Watercolor starting in September at the best price of the year. My advance offer is going out today.

Click here to contact me today to be included in the advance offer mailing.
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