“Allow yourself to be in awe daily.” with Rachel Londyn and Ashley Graber

Allow yourself to be in awe daily. This is one of my favorites. When we stop for just a moment to be in awe of the intricacies of our bodies, the lines on a person’s face created by the thousands of smiles and good memories they’ve had, how lucky we are to have good people in our lives or those who inspire us, we shift our energy into a state of gratitude, which in my opinion is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Rachel Londyn, a multi-dimensional Los Angeles based artist and #1 charting singer/songwriter with music previously released through Sony & Universal. As a painter, she was named the “top emerging artist to watch” by Saatchi Art’s Chief Curator. As a musician and artist, she enjoys weaving esoteric wisdom into her lyrics and cosmic energy into her artwork.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

Often in modern society we ask children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and give them permission to dream. Then at some point in the future, we tell them that growing up means getting “real” and being “practical” about what they “should” be doing with their lives. I’ve been writing lyrics, painting and singing for as long as I can remember. It has always been a defining part of who I am and my way of interfacing with and making sense of the world. So I guess I never “grew up” so to speak in that sense and it has fortunately enabled me to keep dreaming and creating. I derive so much pleasure from these elevated forms of communication, spoken not just in words or images, but in feeling and sensing. The cross between music and painting for me also likely has to do with my synesthesia, which manifests as an ability to hear color and see sound.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

I’d love to see an updated research report because my guess would be that the numbers have increased dramatically in favor of feeling that way. We live in a world that is a product of convenience, often making decisions based upon how quickly and efficiently we can get something accomplished. Beyond this, and now more than ever, I believe it is our responsibility to be as intentional as possible about what is important to us, what we want and need to be doing with our time and how we can best prioritize taking care of ourselves so that we can show up with presence and appreciation for ourselves and others. The lack of this intentionality and awareness could be a driving factor in feeling “always rushed” for those who do. When I feel “rushed” — it can fuel a feeling of exhilaration because there are so many things I get to be doing with my time, so perhaps there’s a shift in perspective that can be had there as well.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

I’m all about finding a balance between allowing things to happen and taking action in order to optimize creativity, productivity, health and happiness, which is something that can be cultivated mindfully but not forced. Without understanding and honoring one’s own rhythms, feeling like we don’t have time to “stop and smell the roses” takes the joy, fun and magic out of life. Because I believe illness can be psychosomatic, it’s important to focus on that which makes one feel well as a high priority.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

I love studying the habits of highly successful individuals to find common threads. Among several of the millionaires and billionaires I know, I hear two pieces of advice that surprise me, which are to meditate and have a gratitude practice. These activities can take only a few minutes and have highly impactful results. This is a great example of being intentional with time. Writing down goals for the day in the morning or thinking of three things you’re grateful for before bed are ways to do more and improve quality of life in a way that makes one feel they’re taking time to be in alignment with self.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

1.Have a morning ritual that works for you.

In my own life, I feel the most prepared to conquer the day when I have a routine of things that help me feel grounded, stabilized and have taken care of myself first. This includes keeping my phone on airplane mode while I sleep and not taking it off airplane mode until I’ve had my celery juice, walked my dog, taken a shower and written down my goals for the day. This way I’m not automatically set in a reactive mode and am empowering myself to instead be a conscious creator.

2. Using totems to anchor and shift mindset.

I use simple little “tricks” to help me shift my mindset into “I get to do” vs. “I have to do.” This includes lighting a candle or burn palo santo and making a cup of tea before I dive into emails for the day or need to finish handling the business side of my music and art careers. Typically these items and actions are associated with pleasure moments and relaxation, so I’m able to anchor myself into a more positive feeling and headspace to take on the tasks at hand.

3. Really listen to and see the person in front of you.

It’s all too easy to feel the entire weight of the world resting on our shoulders, or that every detail we have mapped out for the day must be completed immediately for survival at all cost. I’m exaggerating a bit, but we are by nature self-focused first. This is not a bad thing, but we forget how nourishing just a moment of reflection with someone else can be or how powerful it can be to step outside our minds and engage in human connection. In an acting class years ago, one of my coaches said, when you feel nervous, put all of your attention onto the other person in the scene. Notice their mannerisms, the way their mouth moves when they talk. Take a moment to be present with what’s in front of you and your own worries and self doubt dissipate.

4. Allow yourself to be in awe daily.

This is one of my favorites. When we stop for just a moment to be in awe of the intricacies of our bodies, the lines on a person’s face created by the thousands of smiles and good memories they’ve had, how lucky we are to have good people in our lives or those who inspire us, we shift our energy into a state of gratitude, which in my opinion is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

5. Sunday evening vision casting for the week.

I love Sundays and enjoy spending my evening, with a candle and tea, mapping out my goals, reviewing my finances and getting clear about what I want to accomplish in the week as well as being intentional about what joyful, expansive, connected activities I wish to engage in. I’ll often record myself on my phone speaking this into existence as though it has already happened and then playing it back for myself to hear. There’s something powerful about putting our attention on what we want in this way and hearing it back in our own voice.

6. Eating nourishing food and drinking plenty of water.

This one is simple. Pay attention to how what you consume makes your body feel and put things in your body that make you feel good.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

To me, mindfulness is a term for greater awareness, ability to choose empowered reactions, curation of focus and direction. For example, as I began writing this sentence, the man I’m dating walked into the room between business calls to spend a few moments with me. I could have said, “not right now I’m busy,” but because I was able to be mindful, conscious of the situation and in control of my reaction, I allowed myself to receive his presence as a gift, see his gesture as thoughtful instead of being put off and then return to writing. Those sweet moments are the ones we remember if we allow ourselves to experience them in the first place. Our environmental circumstances are the same and we get to choose if we see things as a hindrance or a gift.

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

This may sound overly simple, but placing attention on what you have in front of you. So if you’re eating, really taking time to feel the textures, temperatures and flavors. If you’re speaking to someone, making an effort to really listen, not to respond, but to really give them the gift of being heard. While you’re driving, instead of being on autopilot, noticing the beauty of the sky (rather than cursing the traffic).

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

Keeping awareness of my larger goals while doing the things that may seem of lesser importance but I know are directly in service to reaching the bigger vision.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices?

I love Game Changers by Dave Asprey, The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer, The Joe Rogan Podcast, Bulletproof Radio Podcast and Tony Robbins everything.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage against the dying of the light.” — Dylan Thomas

This quote doesn’t sugarcoat the reality of our impermanence. Perhaps someday soon, we will be able to live forever, but in the meantime, to be reminded that the journey of life can be played full out while we are here is beautiful. Each conscious creation we bring forth into the world is therefore a rebellious act against our impermanence and in favor or our immortality.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

“Allow yourself to be in awe daily.” with Rachel Londyn and Ashley Graber was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.