Recently, a friend invited me to stop and slow down. Just for a few minutes.
I slipped off my shoes and felt the cool stepping stones in her garden under my feet. In a few short minutes, with all systems slowed to the moment in front of me, I felt like Alice in Wonderland-one moment staring up at the giant, waving leaf of a tropical banana tree and the next moment bent down, in awe at the mini, star-shaped moss tuft peeking out between a crack in the stones.
Ten minutes later, as I finished up this walking meditation in her garden, refreshed and ready to go about with my busy day, I knew it was something I wanted to remember to continue as a regular practice for myself and share with my favorite seven year old.
“Hey,” I said to the curly haired boy, “Wanna play The Slow Motion Game with me?”
“What’s that?” he responded, with the keen skepticism of a seven year old who has been around the block and played a zillion games or two in his lifetime so far.
“Well, it’s a kind of discovery game. We slow dooooown.” I started talking in slow motion speak. “And when we look aroooound we see things that we’ve neeeeeverrr seeeeeen beforrrrrrre.”
I could see the spark of interest lit in his eyes now.
“And whoever finds the most cool stuff is the winner?” he yelled excitedly.
“Sure, something like that.”
Five… Close your eyes
Four… Slowing down
Three… Your mind is going to sleep
Two… Your body is getting very relaxed
One… You are in slow motion mode. Open your eyes… And GO… s l o w w w w w w w w…
Our bare feet made their way slowly through the back yard. The dirt felt good sinking between my toes. I watched out of the corner of my eye as the boy did his best slow mummy walk and then presently crouched down.
Between the two of us, we discovered treasures galore in our familiar backyard space.
An army of ants coming out of tiny hole in the flower bed, a bright green arrowhead-shaped sprout shooting out ninety degrees from a tree branch, a baby fly sunning its translucent wings, a baby bee buzzing. We discovered the glossy, tightly curled leaf of a waxy flower pushing its way upward, and crystalline water drops sitting in the very center of a regal succulent. A family of pincher bugs scurried away as we studied the natural, hieroglyphic markings on an old tree stump.
Long after we finished playing, the curly haired boy was still bent over, looking at potato bugs curled up in tree hollows or looking up through tree branches, discovering many more unseen treasures in the garden.
I didn’t mention to the wild-haired one the part that we would feel ourselves coming back to ourselves during this game.
I didn’t mention that by slowing down our spinning minds, we would enliven all our other senses, as we became part of the world in front of us.
I didn’t mention that by slowing down, we recharge and reconnect with that vital source within us.
I didn’t mention that part to him. I didn’t have to.
Yes, this was a good game.