Some days you wake up with a heavy feeling hanging over you. Ahead of you lies another day of grind. The mountain of things to do seems to only get bigger, the peak further away. On days like this you tend to view your role as getting through the day rather than being in it.

This is how I felt earlier this week. I lay in bed with that heavy, despondent feeling, another day of churn ahead of me, knowing I probably wouldn’t be satisfied regardless of how much I achieved.

But instead of sucking it up and getting on with it I decided to come downstairs slowly, make a cup of coffee, and just sit on the couch quietly. After some time I took out my journal and did my morning reflection slowly, taking care with each letter, each word I wrote. I contemplated what each task meant instead of the usual quick glance. I savoured each sip of coffee. Then I started working on my first task, not trying to just get through it, but to do a good, thoughtful job. Strangely I started to feel better. Happy.

One of the emails I read that morning was this post by Ryan Holiday, from which the quote below jumped out at me:

“If the farm has taught me anything… it’s the importance of slowing down, of doing things right, of a different kind of work.”

On this day, in this moment, it was as though Ryan wrote those words for me. They were validation for what I had just experienced, a lesson I had re-learned. Then and there I ordered his new book Stillness is the Key which I hope is full of the type of wisdom that reinforces the idea, and the importance of slowing down.

Slow down, live in the moment; they’re nice sentiments but not always the easiest to achieve. We get so swept up in the busyness of life, in the goals we set for ourselves and what needs to be done to achieve them, that it’s easy to forget that joy comes from journey, not the destination. You have to work at staying in the moment.

I had two more cups of coffee that day and enjoyed every sip. I found pleasure in the work I had earlier resisted because I gave it my full attention and took my time. A day that started so bleakly turned into the best I’d had in some time, all because I started looking at what was right in front of me, not what was to come.