The Importance of Slowing Down

Today I interviewed for a position at a summer camp with the American Youth Foundation (AYF).  The motto for AYF goes something like this:

My Own Self

At My Very Best

All the Time.

Given that I’m  fascinated with personal growth, self-actualization, tapping into our potential, shining as we are meant to shine, conscious evolution – however you want to put it – the AYF seems like a perfect fit for me. They strive to bring out the best in people, and that’s entirely what I believe we’re all here to do in one way or another.  Every moment is an opportunity for us to shine, and “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” (Words famously written by Marianne Williamson, although often attributed to Nelson Mandela.)

What could be better than for each and every one of us to shine, or as AYF might say, to be our best?

As if the core motto for AYF was not enough to fire up that spirit inside me, during the interview I was given a further explanation of how the motto works in action.  The interviewer, Ben, mentioned buzz words to expand upon the motto like intentionality, modeling, and simple living.  Hearing these words, I could not help but smile, because they are some of the core principles I live by and believe in.

Meanwhile, after Ben finished his briefing and he asked me the first question, “Why do you want to work at Camp Merrowvista for the AYF?” my answer came out more mixed up than a milkshake.

Heinz site, I wonder why my enthusiasm and alignment with their core principles didn’t come through in my response more clearly.  After more than 5 hours of passively pondering the outcome of the interview, I realize that I allowed myself to feel rushed for absolutely no reason.  I forgot to practice Thich Nhat Hahn’s simple words for success: “Breathe, smile, and go slowly.”  Instead of going slowly, I kicked into primal instincts mode as though my very existence were at stake.

Instead of connecting with my core beliefs and being true to my Best Self, I slipped into defense mode as though catering to someone’s interests.  I forgot to communicate from the heart.

Thankfully, as the interview continued, I reconnected with my center and filled more with enthusiasm.  For the rest of the interview, I engaged the questions mindfully, ensuring that I understood the question before I began to answer.  Also, for some of the questions in which an answer did not immediately pop to mind, I asked for time to think.

Breaking news interrupt: it is 4:44!  Been seeing this number a lot recently.  I hear it means angels are present and available to provide you with guidance…

That being said, Hallelujah 🙂  When it all comes down to it, if there’s a single word / thought / idea / concept / attitude to convey the very essence of everything that I believe, I’d probably put it in the sound of Hallelujah.

To me, I understand Hallelujah as a reminder to celebrate the grace and goodness of God, always and forever.  Every moment, even when it seems like it’s the worst, God is present, and what a great present that is.  Eternally by our side, in our family and in our friends, in strangers, in trees, in squirrels, in our heart of hearts…dwelling everywhere, delighting in existence.  One of the very best things we can do is share in the delight – Here & Now, wherever and whenever that might be for you – even if it’s not 4:44 😉

Well then, after the 4:44 interrupt, pretty much anything else I’d possibly write seems trivial.  I guess when you slow down to consider what’s really important, you become filled with that sense of trust and goodness in this present moment.  Know that you are more than enough, you are completely worthy, and you are completely safe.

Having listened to many wise words of Ram Dass today on YouTube, he made me consider what we are to do with the physical body and mind so long as our consciousness resides primarily in this human form.  Pondering this thought, one of the best things we can do is awaken to our spiritual nature and the world of the unseen.   Okay then – so say you awaken to trusting intuition, seeing auras, healing, communicating with angels or spirit guides or whoever – then what?  Awakening people to these spiritual faculties would make sense…but then what?  Live in an awareness of God and your eternal nature.

As Ram Dass said, “One of my rules for living is ‘work on myself.'”  As the law of authenticity assures us, the best gift and really the only gift we ever have to give is the gift of ourselves.  As we work on ourselves to cultivate our awareness and steady focus on God, we can then share that gift.

We can only give what we have, and so when we consider the gift of ourselves, with our own presence we can give the gifts of faith, happiness, and peace, so long as we live from that place of faith, happiness, and peace.

Steve Pavlina talks of a similar life philosophy when he says the best thing any one of us can do for the good of all of us is to become enlightened.  With enlightened awareness…well…guess we’ll find out what’s possible.  For starters, there might be lots of giggling…



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