Sunday, November 13, 2011


Who would have thought hiking, sitting down to eat an orange or reading a novel during the day would be hard (see previous posts)? I mean I'm not trying to learn how to write in Chinese -- just trying to kick back a little. But it feels strange to slow down -- like I'm being lazy, unambitious. Eating an orange at the table instead of grabbing a few grapes as I sprint from one activity to the next seems wrong. It's almost like a jockey is on my back cracking his whip to get me to race along. I tell him to stop, but his persistent snapping disrupts my tranquility. I guess learning to slow down is just like learning any new skill. It takes time and practice.  

My quest to relax reminded me of a method I used when I was a clinical supervisor at The College of Saint Rose -- Four Stages of Competence developed at Gordon Training International by its employee Noel Burch in the 1970s.[I spoke of these stages when encouraging students studying to become speech-language pathologists as they fumbled through their first few therapy sessions. They are:

Unconscious Competence - This is when we see, hear or know about a skill and decide to try it. It can be anything from learning how to make home made pizza dough to downhill skiing. It looks easy - shouldn't be too hard.  
I think I'll learn to ski.
Conscious Incompetence - This is when you try the skill and discover it's not so easy. You fall ten times skiing down the bunny hill. It fact, you can hardly scoot over to the chairlift on those long, narrow skates. Your pizza dough comes out full of holes and no matter how hard you try to pinch them together, the holes keep coming back. You have to make a decision. Do you keep working at the skill or is it simply not worth it? After all, the Italian place down the street makes an excellent pizza and hanging out at the ski lodge has its perks. If you decide pizza making and skiing are skills you truly want to master, get ready for some work and pain.
Do I really want to do this?

Conscious Competence - This is when you obtain some proficiency at the skill, but you have to think about it. The cookbook is right in front of you as you carefully spread out the pizza dough. If skiing, you dutifully attend the lessons you signed up for and practice, practice, practice.

Slow and Steady

Unconscious Competence - This is when holes are history as you spread out that pizza dough and you glide down the ski slopes, not even realizing how fluid your parallel ski turns have become. 

This is fun! I think I'll try snowboarding.

I have tried both pizza dough making and skiing. The pizza dough thing ended at stage two, conscious incompetence, way too frustrating for me. But I made it all the way to stage four, unconscious competence, with skiing (a long as I don't wander onto double diamonds -- the expert slopes). It was my choice. I didn't care about making the perfect pizza dough, but loved the idea of spending sunny winter days gliding down snowy mountain trails. 

So, do I persist in my mission to slow down, as with skiing, or do I dump the idea like I did with the pizza dough and keep spinning around like the Tasmanian Devil?  

I want to make an intelligent choice so I searched the Internet and found this site: 

According to the Heart of Healing Website the benefits of relaxing include:
  • gives the heart a rest by slowing the heart rate
  • reduces blood pressure
  • slows the rate of breathing, which reduces the need for oxygen
  • increases blood flow to the muscles
  • decreases muscle tension

As a result of relaxation, many people experience –

  • more energy
  • better sleep
  • enhanced immunity
  • increased concentration
  • better problem-solving abilities
  • greater efficiency
  • smoother emotions — less anger, crying, anxiety, frustration
  • less headaches and pain
Okay. My decision is made. I will continue to make time in my day to kick back. Before I know it, I'll be sailing into Unconscious Competence.              

To learn more about the Four Stages of Competence click   here:  

Kick Back Song of the Week:

      Sail Away sung by Enya. Enjoy the journey into peace and serenity.


Kick Back Book of the Week:

Learning to Breathe: My Year Long Quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner. A spirited New Yorker sets out to find her inner Tibetan monk by meditating every day, aiming to rewire her brain and her body and mend her frayed nerves. On this winding path from panic to peace, with its hairpin emotional curves and breathtaking drops, she also delves into a wide range of spiritual and alternative health practices, some serious and some . . . not so much (taken from book description on

 It's amazing. The simple act of breathing, when focused on, can provide us with so many benefits. Priscilla Warner talks about her book below:

A Little Something Extra:

"Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you."
  ~John De Paola~

Tech Code: 4DP62YN3UYDX

No comments:

Post a Comment