The Necessity of S L O W

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The span of Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up like the span of one’s life

 

It’s a paradox that as my lifespan grows shorter, instead of speeding up to fit in as much as I can before leaving this mortal coil, I crave for ‘slow’ – a slowing down to savour life’s experiences.

This was, in fact, a theme for a recent trip away to the Sydney Writers’ and Vivid festivals. We resolved to ‘savour’ the experience. Well, two of our group consciously decided on this approach, and over the few days we had, we did savour the experiences.

What did this mean? It meant not running from event to event to fit in as many sessions as we could in the limited time we had. It meant not expecting to see every aspect the festivals were offering. It meant being flexible enough to change plans according to mood as we did when lingering in the Chinese Gardens.

Primarily it meant not embracing the idea of FOMO (fear of missing out). But rather, appreciating fully what we were experiencing.

I think as a society, we can become so intent on fitting in as much as possible, that we deny ourselves the opportunity to ‘be in the moment’.

My morning walks are a conscious effort to ‘be’ in every moment – a kind of moving meditation. I see more, feel more, and so, appreciate more.

 

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Scarlet Jezebel

I might have missed an encounter with this beautiful butterfly otherwise. Or, overlooked the way the light caught the ripples on the river, or missed the metamorphosis of tadpoles into froglets.

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“Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

This ‘slow movement’ is not new and appears to be gaining momentum. It has a growing number of expressions including the producing, preparing and enjoying of food, slow cities, slow clothes and even slow travel among a growing list of other ‘slows’. The slow part of the exercise allows time to stretch as each second is lived in a conscious and fully aware way. On a recent ABC radio program Future Tense, author, Carl Honore explained:

‘The world’, he said, ‘was living in fast-forward and most of us were in danger of become addicts. I think it’s reached a stage now where we have become speed junkies … when we suddenly find ourselves with a moment of silence or quiet, we fidget, and panic, and start shifting around looking for something else to plug that space, that void, and I think that we’ve kind of lost the ability just to stop and to reflect and to be quiet and still.’

I would add to this, the doing of things in a mindful manner – like being actively present in nature or having one’s hands in the soil working to make a garden, which in their necessity for patience and close observation, have always been slow exercises for me.

 

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it. Rumi

Useful links:

http://www.slowmagazine.com.au/

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34 responses to “The Necessity of S L O W

  1. This is such a welcome reminder: thank you, Robyn. Your trip to Sydney was a kind of extended “Artist’s Date” as advocated by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: you and your friend consciously topping up your wells of creativity.

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  2. Great wisdom. It’s funny, I live in a tourist town and I watch with amusement–and sadness–as people stop for one or two seconds to take a selfie in front of some notable building or sculpture or tall ship and then hurry quickly on. Many know nothing about the thing they just photographed. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

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  3. Three striking photographs — mini sculpture (froglet), bright painting (Jezebel), apt symbol (bridge) — to go with your wise words. I am pausing right now to listen slowly and look long. Lots here worth slowing down for.

    I also like the “moving meditation” idea. Never had much luck sitting or kneeling. After church today (Eastern Christian) where the priest chanted, more than once, “Let us be attentive,” I thought how that exhortation might make good billboards, bumper stickers, cell phone alerts, and notepad headings. But now I think, no, that makes a cliche out of what could be a life-changing attitude. Nothing that good comes easy and fast. I almost gave in to the modern temptation to over simplify and mass produce. Probably better for me to try slow living than to preach it.

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    • Albert, you understand my intentions perfectly. My walks are full of prayerful moments – mostly gratitude, but if there are requests, it’s that I continue to experience the beauty AND be grateful.

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  4. I long to be able to freeze-frame so many moments in my life. And I have many moments of reflection and silence now, unlike when I was working.It still is not slow enough for me. I love the Lewis Carroll quote although it did bring tears to my eyes. It reminded me of the scene in Our Town, in the graveyard. Life is too beautiful.And your thoughts are part of that beauty.

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    • Clare, I understand what you mean about freeze framing. I think that’s one thing (among many) that comes with ageing, the realisation of precious moments and how quickly they pass. I’m caring for my grandson today. He is unwell. I am fetching and carrying to his every whim. And freeze framing every moment. 🙂

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      • Thanks Clare. He has an infected toe which is not responding to antibiotics- sadly an increasingly common thing now. Even at nine years old he likes nothing better than to cuddle up with me and listen to stories I invent for him. He’s always the main character 😄

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      • I really hope you are writing down some of those stories. It sounds like a wonderful series in the making. He’s a lucky boy to have you in his life. Ah, I see you are up and about from a comment just sent. I’m working on the proof of the mystery, hoping we can get it into print within the next two weeks. no rest for the weary.

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      • Hard work now but it’ll be worth it. Just two weeks to go? And then you can have a well deserved rest and bask in the kudos. What an achievement. You have made a tremendous leap from children’s literature to adult mystery. I’m excited to see it. Well back to work for you. And into bed early for me.

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      • Not at all. I think part of the world’s problems revolve (heehee) around our inability to look at anything closely or with any kind of attention. We’re always on to the next shiny thing. It’s shallow and pretty exhausting.🤔

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      • You are so right! Play on words noted 😄 paying attention to consumerist wants is a perfect example. Seeing them for what they are – largely unnecessary – can liberate us.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I hadn’t realised that FOMO was a recognised thing. I suffered from it a lot when I was younger but, like you, the older I get the more I want to slow down, do things slowly, enjoy the moment. That said, I wish the other type of slow would go away – the one that takes me so much longer to digest what I’m reading, to understand new technology, etc.
    I love that butterfly. 🙂

    Like

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