Cultivating Slow Living
Slow Living. The concept is not new. It began in Italy in the 1980s in response to the “invasion” of fast food and the desire by a movement to keep the traditions of regional cuisine intact. There is more to it, but this attention to slowing down the pace of life sparked mini-movements dubbed slow food, slow fashion, slow travel, slow gardening, and the like. For me at first, the whole concept of slowing down has seemed more like giving in and succumbing to limitations of time and energy. My life to date has been one giant ramping up in an attempt to do more, move faster, sleep less, and accomplish at higher altitudes.
In a world that seems to be gathering speed, I’ve come to the realization that I’m now more interested in quality than quantity. And quality demands balance and the right pacing. The appeal of slow living has been germinating for me over the past couple of years. Perhaps this is because of a forced slow down due to the pandemic. Or perhaps this is because of my greater connection with seven practices in a balanced life, a focus in my Montessori teaching, a focus here on the farm with our students and campers.
Those seven gateways are:
In order to practice these to any level of effectiveness, I’ve found I have been forced to embrace slower living. And this is hard work for me. I like complexity, and flurry, and over-committing. I hold my breath rather than breathe when I ponder and default to diving in rather than pausing. My husband has observed over the years that “no” is not in my dictionary. I’m learning.
So, the concept of Slow Living is now more of a journey than a practice, but perhaps that will change as I get better at it. In the end, my goal is to join a movement where people first decide then demonstrate a more balanced, meaningful life, appreciating or changing their present environment, cherishing real relationships, recognizing the abundance of nature, seeing good and peace in themselves and finding a way to bring it out in others.