'Slow Down' times

By Fred Cavaiani

This past weekend Christians celebrated Holy Week and Easter. At this time of the year Jews celebrate Passover. Both are considered High Holy Days where the Divine connects with human beings in a deeper manner.

We all need special days, times or pauses to deepen our relationship with the purpose of our life. High Holy Days are times for quiet reflection. They are necessary for each of us.

We rush through life. Our brains are so active and busy. There is so much to be done every 24 hours. Quiet times are avoided. We just want to be productive. To think of having a whole day to be quiet, much less three days (like the last three days of Holy Week or Passover) is almost unthinkable. If I slow down my life with quiet reflection or meditation, what will happen to me?

Holiday celebrations are built in "slow down" times. So are vacations, sick days, and just taking a day off of work to refuel and relax. Yet "slow down" times are difficult to embrace. Why slow down? Who wants to do this? Yet we all exclaim that we want to slow down. We all consciously long for vacation times. We think of warm weather, relaxing in an easy chair on an ocean beach in a tropical climate where the sun keeps us warm and the ocean breezes feel so refreshing. Some people dream of playing golf on picturesque championship courses. Still others think of running on the beach or in the mountains or in a lush green valley.

We all have our glorious fantasies. Yet "slow down" times can be chosen on a daily basis for each of us. We can choose to find a "slow down" half hour to sit quietly and read. We can go for a "slow down" walk outside, breathe deeply, and refreshingly reflect on what is most important. Having a wonderful conversation with a friend about spiritual and emotional values can be a great "slow down" time. Listening to the conversations of small grandchildren can be a tremendous "slow down" time of childlike wisdom. Calling a good friend whom we know cares about us and enjoys sharing with us is another positive "slow down" time. Visiting someone in the hospital "slows us down" to what is most important in life -- to love and cherish those around us and create an atmosphere of love for those who are in a diminished capacity.

"Slow down" times happen when we attentively listen to another person and sit quietly and gently with someone. The greatest gift we can give another person is to "slow down," listen and love them by or gentle, focused attention as to what they are saying or doing.

People who "slow down" by abundant amounts of quiet time each day seem to radiate a presence to the rest of us that is peaceful, loving and wise. They don't have to say much but what they do say seems to be filled with gentleness and love. It seems to come from somewhere deep inside of them as if they are in a place of peaceful depth where we would love to be. Their profound, peaceful presence seems to gently inspire us to look for something deeper. They just seem to know how to "slow down" and be fully, gently alive. They have a humble presence about them that does not seem to be dependant upon what happens around them or what other people might think about them. It is like talking to someone who seems to have encountered a Power that is so deep and loving that we almost experience that Powerful Presence just by being with that person. This most likely has happened to each of us at some point in our lives. We encounter someone who seems to have a depth and peace that just penetrates us deeply. Maybe our 'slow down' time is to try and find out what they have deep inside of them that has such a positive effect upon us.

People who have "slow down" times are not out to convert, persuade, or confront. Yet they challenge us just by their peaceful presence. They seem to love us even if we disagree with them, act stupid, or even act in an insensitive manner. They are just there, peaceful, loving and kind. We just can't get rid of them. Thank God. We all need people like this in our lives. If you don't have someone like this in your life, find someone. Reach out, look, listen and you will discover someone. But first have some good "slow down" times in your own. It will help you look carefully and discover that person, friend or new acquaintance who knows the power of "slow down" times. They can really help you on your journey through life.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

Published: Tue, Apr 10, 2012

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