The Importance of Slowing Down

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the need to slow down, to carve out precious space in the jam-packed busyness of our everyday lives. I remember being reminded of the importance of this several years ago when I went to a presentation given by Sue Bender, the author of Plain and Simple, Everyday Sacred, and Stretching Lessons. As both her talk and her books reflect, she teaches the importance of slowing down…not only to give ourselves a much-needed rest in this fast-paced 21st-century life, but also to give audience to, as she expressed it, “a spirit inside each of us that whispers to be heard.”

Sue told the story of what happened when she paid attention to that spirit whispering to be heard; a whole new chapter in her life began when she listened to the message inside of her that told this Berkeley artist and professor’s wife to go live with the Amish. Despite many reasons not to do it, and an uncertainty as to why to do it, she decided to follow that invitation. Her life unfolded in many delightful and unexpected ways; in addition to learning, and valuing, a new and slower way of being, she also became an author — an author appearing on The New York Times best-seller list! She found her calling by listening to the call of the voice within.

May we slow down long enough to listen to the whispers of the Spirit inside each of us. May we trust enough to follow the guidance of those whispers. May we allow ourselves to be led when creating new chapters in our lives; and may we share the stories of following our guidance with others.

—Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon

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