The art of slow extraction
For the last month or so my life circumstances have forced me to slow down. Slow is generally not my pace. I’ve never lost a game of Speed (you know that card game?) in my life. I thrive on momentum.
But as I’ve been forced to slow down, I’ve witnessed such beauty in the small details of life. The way my daughter’s hair smells when she gets out of the bathtub, the brilliance of a well written novel, the warmth of sunbeams as they come through my kitchen window.
I realized that when I am hurrying toward goals I skip over the details that make life really special, and then seek “peak experiences” to attain happiness, rather than practicing the art of slow extraction.
When Peter and I were researching what kind of juicer to get, we compared half a dozen different kinds. Some were fast spinning types that threw out tons of pulp. Others were slow, masticating ones, that methodically mashed up the fruits and vegetables. We decided on a slow one.
If you’ve ever made your own juice, you know it’s already a slow procedure, so why choose a slow juicer? Because it gets the most nutrients and juice out of vegetables and fruits. And even though it takes longer for each piece of produce than a fast juicer, it gets so much more juice out that the time to make a glass of juice is about the same in the end
For the same reason, you may choose slow extraction in your life. This would mean slowing down in order to be present in every moment, to really experience the sweetness that occurs, to get all the juice out of life.
Don’t hurry through life trying to get to the next thing, extract every bit of happiness out of each moment. – Tweet it
Slow extraction is a skill. It takes practice and you get better at it the more you do it.
Start by scheduling chill times during your day. Take thirty minutes or an hour during your day to do whatever feels relaxing at the time. Take a walk, read a book, or sit in a park, and consciously focus on the details of these simple luxuries.
Then try noticing the specialness in all the activities you do. When you would normally trudge through a task like washing the dishes or a team meeting, instead see how much joy you can bring and how much fun you can have while doing it.
Ask this question throughout your day: what am I enjoying about this moment? And challenge yourself to never allow the answer to be “nothing.” You’re better than that.