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The Value of Slow

"The only thing I don't like about you is you walk too SLOW!" exclaimed my travel companion in Italy in 2002. She was right. I did walk slow, still do. I was in Italy, and I wanted to take in every detail. There was so much for the senses to delight in, the sights, the smells, and the people. I was less concerned about our destination and more concerned with the process of getting there.

I hadn't always been this way. I used to rush from place to place already at the destination in my head and in a hurry for the body to catch up and get there! My first experience of the value of slow came from my yoga teacher, Treya Forlenza, back in 1993. As I sat in class wishing she would hurry up and get on to the next pose so I could stop suffering in the one we were in, her slow melodic voice would say "Breathe...there's nowhere to get to." Back then, I found myself thinking "Of course there's somewhere to get to, now hurry up and let's get there! I'm in pain!!" Yet for twelve years I kept going back to this slow, deep, moving from within class because somewhere in me there was a yearning for slow.

Over time, I began to value this new way of being. Past the pain and the rush there was a deep desire to slow down, to see beyond my narrow tunnel and expand the awareness of what was around me, to expand my senses. I liked what I was finding in slow.

In 1996 I began my Soma practice. At that time my sessions were 90 minutes long. A few years into my practice I introduced the two hour session. Two hours! Clients were at first a bit resistant, that seemed so long and decadent. I soon won them over and in ten years of doing two hour sessions I've never had a complaint that the session was too long. On the contrary, my clients began to revel in this extra time to unwind, get present in their body, let go and still have the time to integrate the new and arise with a new awareness fully experienced in the body.

I had this experience recently as the client. As we have established, I am slow and I like it that way. My body does not respond well to "hurry up and let go." She likes to get familiar, take it in, find the release, let go and still have time to gather herself together and proceed. Over the last eight years when trying colon hydrotherapy I was simply unable to release. I had decided it just wasn't my cup of tea. In April of this year I joined the team at the Tummy Temple and thought it important that I "get it" about colonics. So, I booked a two hour session. My therapist and I took our time; she began with energy work to help my body get present and comfortable. Then came the release! I got it!! I just needed more time. My body simply had refused to perform a release in an hour. For many, an hour is plenty of time. But I imagine I am not the only one with a shy colon that needs a little extra coaxing and a little more time.

So if you are inclined, please give "slow" a chance.

Eat slow: You will not only get to enjoy the process of savoring your food but you will digest more properly giving an overall more enjoyable experience from ingestion to elimination.

Walk slow: It will allow you to take in your environment, the smells, the sounds, it can expand the experience and deepen it.

Move slow: In your practice of movement slowing down allows you to follow the body rather than push it.

Give yourself enough time to get from point A to point B: It will allow for you to sink into the body and move from the pelvis taking the body with you rather than feeling like the energy is already at the destination and the poor body is lumbering to catch up.

Breathe slow: Use the breath when you feel rushed. Take a deep breath and allow yourself to sink into your body, and then proceed.

Wake up slow: When you can wake up slow it allows you to reflect on your dreams and revel in the space between sleeping and waking, a very creative and informative space.

Book a two hour "Cadillac Colonic": See what shows up for you when you allow your body more space and time to trust and release. Book a two hour massage: Again, see what shows up for you when you allow your body more space and time to trust and release.

Book a one hour massage before your colonic or vice versa: Once again see what shows up for you when you give your body more space and time to trust and release.

Shelly Donovan is a LMP, Certified Soma Practitioner and Reiki Master. She has completed two continuing education courses in abdominal massage. Shelly practices at Tummy Temple.


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