Slowing Down and Enriching Life

[Please note: The views and opinions expressed in each post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BayNVC as a whole.]

The practice of slowing down can be experienced as a gift for anyone who can master this discipline. So many times we may be so busy that we can forget to unwrap this gift and focus on what is most important to us. We may as a result let things pass us by like being present for ourselves and others or important events or celebrations, etc.

Spend Time in Silence
It can be most nourishing to take some time daily or weekly to slow down. During this time you can be intentional about turning off the radio, television, electronic devices and/or computer. I encourage you to be with the silence and become comfortable with it. Other options can include practicing deep breathing, meditation, prayer, journaling, writing a gratitude list, drawing, or reflection. These are just some things you can choose from.

It is amazing how many people are uncomfortable with silence and immediately want to fill it with noise or activity. Silence can bring to the surface things we may be avoiding thinking about. It also may remind us of how hard it may be to be with ourselves and life. There is a tendency to always be connected to some form of distraction. This habit of distraction and doing things keeps us from being okay with what may be unfolding right in the moment. When we stop and are present with life and the present moment, we allow ourselves to see the beauty of life and also to deal with what may be lurking around for our attention. When we bring awareness to things just below the surface of our consciousness and work through the issues we feel better – healing can happen.

Slowing Down Gives Us Freedom
Slowing down is also something we can practice when we get upset. It is when we don’t slow down that we usually get into trouble. We may say something that we regret or do something that is not in alignment with our values.

Rollo May says, “Freedom is the capacity to pause between stimulus and response.”

If we can slow down when we are triggered by someone or something and think about how to respond, we can live in freedom and in alignment with our values. Marshall Rosenberg said in a workshop, “Take your time so you can choose a compassionate energy instead of the programmed response we have been taught.”

Something that helps me to slow down and to not get angry is to remember that there is always a good reason for why others do what they do. Rosenberg says that the good reason is an unmet need. All people are trying to do in any given situation is attempting to meet their needs. Sometimes the way they go about it is tragic because it decreases the likelihood of their need ever getting met.

Opening Our Hearts to Compassion
When we slow down and remember to check in with what needs are alive in us and in others we open our hearts toward ourselves and toward others. We are back on track again; in flow with compassion. We create the space to care, love and regain our peace. Slowing down creates the possibility for there to be creativity, freedom, self-mastery, and quality caring for ourselves and others.

“A capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest meaning and significance.” – Pablo Casals


Eddie Zacapa is the founder of Life Enriching Communication, a certified trainer with The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and the author of Principles and Practices of Nonviolence: 30 Meditations for Practicing Compassion and Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders. Eddie provides nonviolent communication training to organizations and has worked in the domestic violence field for 20 years dedicating his life to ending the cycle of violence. He and his wife also work with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationships with others. You can visit his website at