In today's over-industrialised, over-productive, fast paced world it can seem almost impossible to live slowly. You may be thinking: How can I possibly go slowly when I've got a million things to do that all need to be completed yesterday?! But equally, how can you possibly do those million things if you have a breakdown or suffer poor health due to the amount of stress and pressure you're putting on yourself?
Humans have made life far more stressful than it needs to be. Stop and observe nature - it doesn't rush from one task to the next, it simply is. The trees grow, the birds sing, the sun shines, life simply wants to be. This could be your inspiration for how to live your life.
A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing. You’re also forced to confront what’s happening inside you – which is one of the reasons why I think we find it so hard to slow down. Speed becomes a form of denial. It’s a way of running away from those more deeper, tangled problems. Instead of focusing on questions like who am I, and what is my role here, it all becomes a superficial to-do list. ~ Carl Honoré
Time is a completely human made concept. The way we view time, particularly in the Western world, is like an arrow from birth, through childhood and adulthood, and eventually to death. In this way, though, we are only able to identify our own sense of time and not the universe's sense of it. Think of how "flat-earther's" view the earth; when you look at it from very close up it seems like a straight line from A to B but when we look at the entire thing it is obvious that it is circular. In Eastern thought, it is possible to represent time as a wheel perpetually turning but this isn't something which has been learned in the Western viewpoint, yet. The significance of being able to think of time as a wheel rather than an arrow lies in realising that every single day is another turn of the wheel and another chance to live.
I frequently worry that being productive is the surest way to lull ourselves into a trance of passivity and busyness, the greatest distraction from living, as we coast through our lives day after day, showing up for our obligations but being absent from our selves, mistaking the doing for the being. ~ Maria Popova
We need to choose what is most important for us, whether that's taking care of yourself or becoming the next world champion of your sport of choice. Once you make the decision, that's where your energy, time and effort are going to go. I have found taking my time to be one of the most helpful things in managing my mental ill-health. When I wake up and spend some time cuddling my family, leisurely make and eat breakfast, sing along to the radio as I do the laundry and/or dishwasher, take the time to settle my mind and body into the day with yoga and meditation, I am able to find the peace and calm and stillness which is vital to balancing my brain chemicals. This is my morning ritual and it doesn't always look the same but on days where I can't or don't complete this ritual, my mood is often low, my anxiety high and my ability to complete even tiny tasks is non-existent. I love every part of my slow living morning ritual and I begrudge early appointments that mean I have to watch the clock so as not to be late. It might seem like I would lose the whole day but in total my morning routine only takes about an hour or two, and I carry on savouring each moment and activity throughout the day.
Busy is a choice. ~ Debbie Millman / Ann Voskamp
It is a revolutionary act to go slowly. Learn to savour each and every moment. Notice your feelings and thoughts. Appreciate what you have around you. And for goodness sake, slow down. It doesn't matter if you didn't get round to hoovering or organising your endless paperwork. Do something which brings you joy and peace purely for the sake of doing it. Go for a walk to enjoy the fresh air and, in my case, rain. Meditate to find stillness, notice your thoughts and stop letting them take you away from your present. Bake some cookies because its something you enjoy doing and then invite a friend over for tea and share the cookies with them.
You get to choose how you live your life; just make sure you enjoy it.