In modern society, we live fast lives. We have hectic schedules. We work, we run, we often eat our food standing up while getting something done with the other hand. We have drive-through windows for our coffee and fast food (which I personally don’t condone eating.) We turn the faucet and water comes out for us… instantly. We flip a switch, and the lights come on. We want to know something, we Google it.
We are a people who’ve become enamored with instant gratification. And this perception can poison many things in our lives, and in the lives of our kids and younger generations.
The idea persists that if it doesn’t show up quickly, we tire of it. I think it’s healthy to challenge that and to find ways to embrace “slow.”
1. Set a Weight Loss, Fitness, or Other Health Goal — The journey to weight loss and fitness, the healthy way, can be long if we have a lot of weight to lose, or if we are starting from a place of not exercising at all. Setting a goal and continually working for it, checking in, staying motivated, and celebrating each step towards success can help us to appreciate the value of slow persistence.
2. Start a Creative Project — This can be realizing a dream we’ve had. Do the research. Write the book. Start painting or creating art and show your work. Sing, and sing in public, write and record your music to share it with the world. Start a side business based upon your passion. An endeavor like this will teach us to stay focused over the long term.
The act of creating will engage us and excite us, but also teach us to value the ups and downs, the frustrations, and the wonder and magic of breakthroughs, as we continue on. And we begin to view the process, the journey, as one long, connected continuum.
3. Plant a Garden — This is a beautiful and natural way to learn the slow rhythms of life. How many metaphors are based on seeds and blooming and growth? There’s a reason. We plant a seed or a handful. Or we put established plants into the earth, that were once seeds. We water them, we provide sunlight and attention. And we wait for them to grow.
Gardens are a wonderful way to slow down and appreciate life and simplicity. We can learn so much from plant life and how it works in connection to us, to wildlife, and to the earth. We learn reverence for the whole process.
4. Meditate — The idea of sitting in one spot and “doing nothing” can be daunting to many of us, who are quite adept at scurrying around and getting lots of things done. But sitting in quiet solitude is another great way to practice “slow.” We don’t have to rush, to force anything, we don’t have to manage it, control it, we just…let it be. We let ourselves be. Intentionally setting aside this time, can be life-changing.
5. Plant, Buy, Cook Food and Eat Mindfully — While we all may not have the time or resources to plant our food, we can purchase it. We can prepare and handle our food, we can know where it came from. We can cook it with gratitude. Even if it’s just on the weekend, and we rush during the week, it’s important. We can savor each bite, slowly, enjoying the experience of eating to nourish ourselves…not just to swallow some energy and keep going.
We live fast. Find ways to slow down and cherish quiet moments, it’s good for the soul. A few minutes or more of “slow” can change our perspectives in incredible ways. We become grateful, we value the time that was spent on ourselves and others, and we gain a piece of clarity, contentment, and fill our cups to keep moving.