Mining the Headlines

Dishing about the legal and psychological implications of the day's news

Slow Down

Masters of Multitasking, busily doing three things at once...
Remember that old Simon & Garfunkel tune-the "59th Street Bridge Song?" It starts off with "Slow down, you move too fast." It kicks down the cobble stones, says hi to lampposts, and watches the flowers growing. And ends with "Life, I love you, All is groovy."

When was the last time you were in love with life, moving slow enough to enjoy the flowers growing? These days, time is skyrocketing along. Zip-your email goes out and you're annoyed when it takes more than a moment to arrive at its destination, which could be four time zones away. Gee, maybe you should have IM'd that person. We're living in Instant Message mentality-never more than a moment away from communication with more people we have to talk to, more work to be done, more meetings to attend, more kids to pick up from their heavily scheduled activities.

We are all Masters of Multitasking, busily doing at least three things at once. Cooking dinner while talking on the phone about the latest political/financial uproar we're watching on the news. Our minds are filled to the brim, overflowing with stuff. How many points did the stock market fall today? What's wrong with my email program? Does my child have an eating disorder? What if I get fired, downsized? Is my bank safe? Will terrorists attack again? Will my guy win the election? When's my next appointment with my therapist/doctor/acupuncturist? Do I have time to get to the gym this week?

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Whatever happened to the leisurely stroll after dinner? You know, the one that didn't involve heart monitors or pedometers or the sensor you slip into your running shoes that connects wirelessly to your iPod so you can track your calories burned, miles run, and all that other information you so vitally need. The kind of walk that didn't necessitate a cell phone or wasn't isolated in whatever world you tune into through your headphones.

If you want to be a real radical today, or just get a little saner, you have to unplug occasionally. Push away from the computer and try taking a walk-minus your cell phone, iPod, or monitoring equipment. Just you and your feet (and the key so you can get back in). Walk for the enjoyment of feeling your feet connect to the earth (it's there, even under concrete). Imagine pulling your energy down from your head, away from all those troublesome thoughts, down your body, and through your feet, sending it deep down into the earth. If possible, walk barefoot on a beach or somewhere in nature. If you're in a city, walk through a park, or just notice clouds in the sky, feel the sun or wind on your face, listen to the birds. When you find yourself lost in your thoughts, stuck in your head, connect again to your feet as they touch the earth.

Slowing down is vital in this fast-paced world-vital for our health and basic sanity. See what happens when you say hi to lampposts and watch the flowers growing. I'll bet you'll love life . . . and even feel a little groovy.

Deborah King, New York Times best-selling health & wellness author, speaker, and attorney.

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