Slowing Down

Over the last several months, I’ve noticed that I’ve been increasingly moving at a faster pace. Actually, it wasn’t so much that I was aware of the increased pace, as my body started talking to me and complaining. I had been keeping to my usual schedule of work, family, and physical activity. I was training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu weekly and repeatedly coming out of class exhausted and dealing with constant minor injuries. Some of that is just part of engaging in a very strenuous activity like Jiu-Jitsu, but this seemed a little different. I started feeling like I was running close to empty and by continuing the same program I was risking a more serious injury than the ongoing aches and pains.

I was getting the message loud and clear to slow down and address these underlying physical issues that were demanding my attention. Yet, it was difficult to stop and listen. Once I commit to doing something, I seem to have a tough time not following through on it, even when it might be wise to slow down or stop. Perhaps it’s my defined Ego center and open Sacral Center, but it also seemed like there was some identification around showing up regularly, training hard, and keeping up with the other people there (which as a Projector can be a challenge in itself and questionable as to its sustainability). But I finally listened and I’m currently taking a short break from martial arts training and have been re-evaluating many areas of my energetic output.

With this time and space, I’ve been able to better see just how hard I was pushing myself. And I should have known better, already having recovered from a deep and prolonged period of burn out about 7-8 years ago. The good news is that this time I seemed to have gotten in front of it and avoided digging myself into such a deep physical and energetic hole. Live and learn.

What I find most interesting about the process this time is better seeing the role my mind plays in it. My strategic and active mind (PLL for those of you familiar with Human Design Variable families) seems to think that my passive and receptive body (DRL) can handle all of this activity. Yet, it’s my body which seems to know where it’s at and what it can actually do – but the body doesn’t communicate through thoughts and language, rather through sensation, feelings, and energy.

Curiously, the body also seems to know where it’s going. Right around the time I started tuning in and dialing back my exercise and training, my professional work picked up. I was already stretched thin to the point where I’m pretty sure I could not have handled much more on my plate. In hindsight, it almost seemed like my body was preparing me for what was coming in the future.

I’ve been noticing this pattern for the last couple of years and seeing it allows my mind to let go, relax and trust that if I’m on the right path and doing what I should be doing, then life seems to open up. I know it sounds a bit out there, and I certainly don’t understand how it all works, but it’s a very different feeling than trying to control things from a mental place where I’m trying to make things happen or doing what I think I should be doing or not.

My mind may worry that I won’t have enough money coming in, but if I can relax into what is happening (or seems to want to happen) and not push to fill up my schedule and create more work, these things seem to happen on their own. A large part of this is simply allowing the right amount of time and space in order to let things unfold the way they’re supposed to. I can’t pretend to be in control of any of that (at least not on a mental level). It’s just happening, and the body seems to have a better sense of the natural ebb and flow of life than my mind does. This is what Strategy and Authority is about, relaxing our mental grip on things and tuning into our bodies so we can feel into what is true for ourselves and align with the movement of our lives.

So why is it so hard for me to slow down at times? It’s probably a little different for each person, but in my experience, a lot of it is related to the conditioning coming in from our culture and upbringing. We seem to have these fixed ideas about who we are or what we should be doing. These often take the form of beliefs and narratives that were given to us from our parents, friends, or those with influence in our society. For example, if you want something to happen, you need to go out and work hard for it or you need to go take initiative to start or do it yourself. That may be true for some part of the population, but from the point of view of the Human Design System, it certainly isn’t true for everyone.

If you have an open Root center in your design as I do, the experience of pressure to do and to go faster can be quite strong. And if you are an open or non-Sacral being as I am, you may simply not know when enough is enough. But with awareness, we can stop and slow down. For me, this looks like not doing a lot of things that just don’t need to be done. This allows for a space in which I can feel into my own energy and frequency and better see what’s actually important. The mortgage and bills do need to be paid and there are certain health or wellbeing practices that may need to be prioritized.

In this space, I can also better see which relationships are the most important and worth maintaining. As a 2/4 Profile, I often find myself unconsciously being pulled into a never-ending cycle of social engagements. While part of this is just how my design works, it can become its own kind of madness without some type of check or balance in place. While the 4th Line body is designed to be social at times, it can easily get exhausted overdoing these interactions.

Following our Strategy and Authority gives us the possibility of aligning with the natural ebb and flow in the movement of our lives. Like an in-breath and an out-breath. If we can respect these cycles of activity and rest, honoring the rhythms of life and our bodies, we can better tune into this part of ourselves which is reliable and consistent. The form has its own innate intelligence and is the “driver” in life. But how often do we slow down enough to listen to it?

…And remembering to slow down. To breathe. To feel yourself held by the solid ground underneath you. To notice the life of your body – the life of the hands, the toes, the belly, the throat, the face, the forehead. To sense into the space around you. To notice the comfortable and uncomfortable bits of “this present scene of the movie of your life”. To make room for the bliss and the boredom too, the joy and the sorrow, the emptiness and the longing. To let yourself feel empty or whole, complete or incomplete, content or discontented. To connect with the life that is pulsing or surging through you right now. To let it all be as it is, for a moment.

– Jeff Foster

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