Go with the flow.
What’s the hurry?
“Daniel, I think you lost your local boy walk,” Mari, my fiancee, told me.
To be honest, I was slightly taken back by that comment. What? I lost my local boy walk?
“You walk so fast now. Where’s the fire?”
She was right. I came to a point where I felt I was slightly drifting away from my Hawaiian style because of being away from the islands so long. I was forgetting how to be nalu.
Nalu in Hawaiian is mostly recognized as the surf and waves. But, many words in Hawaiian have kaona (hidden meaning). Nalu also means to ponder, meditate, and in local terms – go with the flow. And I was losing it.
This was after spending nine years in California, a year out in Ithaca, NY, and jaywalking the most I ever had in my life. Just to throw it out there, crosswalks are around for a reason.
Anyways, fast forward to this past year and it’s obvious I’m truly making my way back to my Hawaiian “local boy” style. My bike rides and walks have definitely allowed me to reflect on who I am, who I want to become, and where I come from.
During my walks, I observe a lot of people rushing from place to place. I sometimes do the same too. We rush through our days constantly doing things: checking emails, updating twitter, on facebook, texting, surfing the web clicking back and forth between tabs. I’m guilty to. Disconnecting myself from these things during the day is something I’ve been working on.
We are all guilty of it. When we walk to places we put our heads down and march our way in that direction. We keep our email open and when we are notified about a new email, we stop what we were doing to check the inbox. Or, we are working on something that needs our full attention but we then get a text from a friend and have to respond back. After flipping back and forth between tasks, we wonder why we feel so stressed or unproductive.
What I’m trying to say is that I challenge you to be Nalu. Relax. Take your time. Go with the flow. Drop the multitasking mentality, and regain focus. I used to think multitasking was a good skill to have but it’s really not. I’ve come to the conclusion that multitasking is just an excuse for not knowing exactly what to do.
My friend, Mike, once told me he couldn’t live in Hawaii because everything and everyone is always on relax mode. He also pointed out how me being laid back frustrates him because I don’t stress over things easily. True.
But that’s the point.
Being nalu is a choice, and some may find it extremely frustrating because they are used to the hurry-and-rush lifestyle – I have to text back, answer the email, get my lunch on the go, or check my updates. Pump the brakes, my friend.
Try this challenge for one day, and then go back to your normal habits. Then try it again for 2 days and so on.
Here are the guidelines to be nalu.
1. Lessen your to-do list. It is said that at the end of your work day you should write down everything you have to do the next day. I’ve done this, and it drove me crazy because I wrote down so many things that I “had” to do. When I came back to work the next day, I was overwhelmed when I saw the list again. Then after experimenting a little more, I wrote down what I must do. By thinking this way, it allowed me to keep my list to something a little more practical. I didn’t feel rushed to finish millions of things, and I was able to focus on each task separately.
2. Slow your walk. I think many people will find this not so easy. You want to walk at a similar pace as if you are walking through a museum. Mari has told me I walk in my hips, kind of like I’m strutting. But I’m really not, more like pumping the brakes to slow down and enjoy the surroundings. People around you may probably wonder what’s wrong with you. But who knows, maybe after you tell them your experiment they might join in. Slowing down your walk will allow you to take in your environment. When was the last time you saw a hummingbird? butterfly? or a dragon fly? Nature is all around us but yet we take it’s beauty for granted.
3. Be where you are. I’m talking about, when you are around friends, family, or colleagues. Be with them. Or if you are working on an assignment, you should give it your full attention. I do this all the time. I’ll be working on something but then start to think about something else I could work on as well. When I find myself doing that, I pause and take a deep breath. Working on being present is something we have to continuously practice. It is essential to catch ourselves drifting away.
4. Disconnect. This is something that I picked up from Leo Babauta from ZenHabits. Everyone is glued to their iPhones, Blackberries, iPads, Tablets, and other mobile devices. When you are on the computer you constantly check social media, your inbox, youtube, or browsing the web. Try to disconnect for one whole hour. Turn off the computer, your phone, and focus on whatever task you have at that moment. If you are eating lunch with a friend, place your phone on silence. Disconnecting allows a lesser chance of distraction from just cruising. See how it feels, then experiment with being disconnected longer.
5. No need stress. Like I said, I’m a laid back kind of guy. If something unplanned comes up in your day, you cannot bug out. Be nalu. I had to stay calm when I had my bike problem early in the morning on the way to work. When an event takes place that was out of the blue, don’t freak out about it. Just go with the flow. Take care of the situation and get back to your routine. There is no need to ruin your day.
6. See enjoyment in everything. Now some people have found me to be a bit weird when it comes to this. I get excited about the smallest things at times. Although my excitement isn’t your typical jumping for joy and clapping my hands, I still get a sense of excitement and pleasure. While people drag themselves to drive to work, I’m riding my bike feeling the cool breeze and smelling the damp grass. Or I’ll be walking down a grocery aisle singing the latest tune that is stuck in my head. Sometimes we look at a task, and before we even start we are already in the mind set that it’s going to suck. Your perception is your reality.
7. Observe. Look up. Look around. I walk all over on campus and I see the majority of people looking down at the ground. Lift your head up. Say hello or smile at people as they pass by. Who cares if they think you are weird. Look at what’s going on around you. You’d be surprised how many ideas and thoughts I come across by just looking up and observing. Sometimes a simple hello and smile can brighten up someone’s day.
8. Maluhia. Be peaceful. Give Aloha. This is last because this is one of the most important one. Take time out for yourself. When you feel like things aren’t working out, or life is speeding up to much for you – call a time out. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and release all that tension. Sometimes we need to reconnect with ourselves in order to increase our Mana account. This is very important. If events or people are getting the best of you, be Nalu. No need make pilikia (problem). No need cause trouble. Just give back Aloha.