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Slowing Down

Friday, March 30th, 2018

By Nancy Rutkowski

As winter gives way to spring, I find I’m learning to slow down and breathe again. It seems like such a simple act but hard to maintain, and one I easily forget.

So I’ve taken to getting up most mornings and watching the sunrise. I’m lucky to have a second-story room that faces east. Three large windows look onto four magnificent white pines, nearly twice as tall as my home. I’m watching this morning as I write to you.

There’s something about the sunrise that makes the relearning easy, especially with the many sunny days we’ve had here lately. Maybe it’s because the sun compels me to surrender to its beauty, to give up thinking and doing and to simply be.

No matter how many sunrises I watch, each one is different. Even now I find myself putting down my writing tablet. I don’t want to miss any part of this experience. I want to see each shift in color, each increase in intensity, each new pattern that emerges.

This isn’t unlike how we are with our clients. Slowing down and attending to “what is” gives us a window onto the nuances of our clients’ experiences, the shifts in expression, color, tone, or breath. Slowing down helps us to see and be with them in the many difficulties they must bear.

And it helps us to bear ours as well.

I remember as a child lying on the couch with my back to the world, tracing my finger over vines of ivy in the fabric’s raised surface. I can see now how, even then, I was learning to slow down and bear the weight of a chaotic world. I was learning to regulate myself.

The winter has been a difficult one for many of us, challenging our capacity to simply be. The world seems increasingly more chaotic and unpredictable, existential threats increasingly real. Maybe you, too, got caught up in chasing the news and forgetting to breathe.

I’m reminded of a quote from Moshe Feldenkrais, “You can’t do what you want until you know what you’re doing.” I would add to that, and we can’t know what we’re doing unless we slow down long enough to notice.

 


To those of you who do not know me, let me briefly introduce myself. I’ve been involved with GISC since the Center opened its doors in 2002, and for over a decade before that I participated in a supervision group led by GISC senior faculty. I have a coaching and psychotherapy practice in Bloomington, Indiana, a daughter and a grandson in Myanmar, and a cottage on Lake Superior where, during the summer, I watch the sun rise over the lake every day. I’ve watched the Cape Cod Model develop over the decades, and I’m thrilled to be a part of a program I wholeheartedly believe has the power to change lives. I look forward to meeting and greeting you in person as time goes by.

Nancy Rutkowski

 

   
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