People Against Rushing is a virtual organisation. Ok, it's actually an imaginary organisation. It exists in the minds of its members - and you'd be surprised how many have already joined!
Its purpose is to encourage you to slow down, to notice your life, to inhabit it, and to create the space for you to be present. There are side effects. You'll be less stressed!
The only criterion for membership is that you have a genuine desire to do these things.
If you decide to join, you've joined. And from now on, all you have to do, is make the following three choices whenever you can:
20% time buffer
The practice: multiply your anticipated travel time by 1.2
Hurrying causes stress. It's also difficult to be mindful when we are in a rush. We ask the Google how long it will take us to get from A to B, it says 17 minutes. We leave with 15 minutes to spare. Sound familiar? The traffic is worse than usual, so the stress starts to rise. We arrive late, we have no time to connect with people, we worry that they are unhappy with us for being late, our minds are racing and our bodies are in stress mode, releasing hormones as if we were under threat.
This practice is designed to increase the calm and presence in your life by avoiding all of this. If you're habitually late, ask yourself why. Do you have an aversion to being early? Or are you uncomfortable with 'nothing time'? If so, get curious about that. Explore it. Experiment with this and take careful notice of the impact.
blank spaces in the diary
The practice: plan some 'nothing time' in your diary
Packing our diaries full is a recipe for stress and mindlessness. We have no time to process the experiences which are our life. We can't ground ourselves to be fully present for our next commitment. There's no space for our creativity to emerge. There's no time for pattern recognition - the basis for wisdom. We forget things and hurry past people, sending the message that everything else is more important than them.
This practice involves both little and big spaces. The little spaces are the blanks in your diary between appointments. They might be as little as five or ten minutes. A blank space in the diary is time when nothing is planned and your mind can roam. Time for you to simply stop doing and 'be' for a bit. You might be at the bus stop early (because of your 20% buffer), leave your phone in your bag, and you sit there and take in your surroundings. Notice the people around you, the landscape, the temperature of the air.
The big spaces might only be as often as once a week if that's all you can manage, but they are an hour or more where you choose to do nothing demanding. That might be sitting on your back deck with a cup of coffee, enjoying the local birds. It might be taking a long bath, going for a leisurely walk or sitting at the beach.
The goal is a significant chunk of time where you can simply be present to where you are, and allow your mind some down time - some time off from the constant processing of intense input. Nothing time is time alone (or at least without any beings who talk to us!). It allows us to hear ourselves. To tune in to where we are in life or even just this moment.
Travel time only counts if you're not distracted (e.g. by driving, conversation, music, podcasts, any engaging external stimulation). Chores and screen time don't count.
be where I am
The practice: take notice of this moment
All that exists is this moment, right now. Sure, we can allow our minds to spend this moment on memories of the past, or imaginings of the future, and sometimes that's helpful. But that is simply spending our attention this moment, on mind activity - either remembering or imagining. The problem is, we spend so much of our attention on these things that we forget to pay attention to the rest of our experience right now.
This practice dovetails with the first two. It's the go-to practice for any moments of non-doing that might arise because of our buffer time, or our blank diary spaces. In fact it's a super helpful practice for moments inside our doing too.
The practice is simply to pay attention through our senses to both our outer world and our inner world. Some simple guidelines to help you take notice:
OUTER WORLD: what is present now through each of my senses? Sights, sounds, smells, felt sensations on the body, and taste?
INNER WORLD: what is present right now in my mind? In my emotions? In my body?
To become a member of PAR, all you need to do is decide to join. Falling off the wagon on any of these practices is okay. Just jump back on and start again. If you'd like to print out the card above, you can download it below to either take to your local printer (or online print service) or print it out and make one yourself.