Have you heard of the slow food movement? It started in Italy, probably as a reaction to McDonald's type living and has spread across the globe. It has many devotes among the learned. They are devoted to all things that take an enormous amount of time. Artisanal bread, bicycles, beaches, books, knitting, cooking and face to face meetings all are revered in the slow food movement. Yet it is not "a charter for slackers and born-again beatniks," according to a Harvard professor. It is selective slowness - choosing what things to do and giving yourself more time to do them.
I thought of my life, and the culture I live in. My rush permeates every facet of my life. The alarm rings. I race to work out and be back in time to wake the family for school. I place a load in the laundry as I dictate commands to the troops, sign last minute field trip forms and pronounce the spelling words one last time before the test. "5, 4, 3, 2,1." We barely make it in the car at the last possible moment to drop off. Any traffic delay and we are toast. Often we squeeze in the family prayer we missed after buckles are checked. Then we recite any scriptures we know as a sorry excuse for missing our morning study. I then turn to my education and turn on the CD player today is playing a college course on the Weinmar Republic and Hitler's Germany.
200 years ago, the average pig took 5 years to reach 130 pounds; today it hits 220 after just 6 months and is slaughtered before it loses its baby teeth. Due to modern "advances", growth hormones, super pesticides, our food is on the fast track to the table.
This is all too fast.
I decided to focus on slowing down. After all, there is only one kind of time, the moment I am in right now. Staying in the now is a type of fearless focus. It takes courage to slow down. What will I not get done in my frantic world. So, I am giving myself a challenge, a course on slowness so to speak. I am taking normal activities that I rush through and giving myself double the time for completion. I am taking notes to see what happens and how I feel.
Here are some of the results from my first few days.
- I washed my hair really thouroughly and actually took the time to round brush and blow dry it. At presidency meeting, Karlene said, "Wow. Your hair looks amazing. It falls so nicely." I thought I was taking my time, but it really only took me 3 additional minutes and I felt better all day.
- I did not rush though presidency meeting. It ended earlier than normal because we covered each item thouroughly and I left wanting to hug each of those beautiful women I had taken time to see.
- Ladybug had a two day break. She wanted mom time at Gardener Village. I wanted to do my normal thing and race through the shops. She wanted to examine each item before moving on. I breathed in and out and slowed down. We stopped by the water and for the first time in ages, I noticed the firework display of diamonds in the pool as the sunshine hit the water droplets. After watching the ducks for awhile, they grew drowsy enough to give Ladybug the treat of the day in cuddling one.
- I called my sister who has much time for me, whom I am always in a rush with. I mentally gave her all the time she needed. It was lovely, but it did not realize how lovely till a few days later when she called to tell me how much it had meant to her since she has been down.
Conclusions thus far: Speed is usually fear. Slow is good. Slow is really really good. In marriage, in parenting, in listening, in gardening, or on the freeway, slow feels really good. I have found out for myself. I am not less productive, I am more. But I will continue my self imposed course on this lost art, this talent for slowness, for I must relearn this skill. Try a day of mindful slowness and see for yourself!