Sunday, March 7, 2010

Slow is Good. Really good

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.  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4.   On our picnic, instead of eat and run, I brought out sketch pads and pencils for us to record our minute observations of the world around us.  We noticed the delicate curl of the emerging bulbs and the way the sun shone through pieces of glass.
  5. 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!  


  1. I am a firm believer of "slow"

  2. o how i wish that i too could slow down . . . many people tell me that my life is so free and i should not worry about it, but i am two parts more tied down and more stuffed than i was in my single life - and yet it only gets more stuffy and tiey from here. i feel that i am always rushing from feeding my baby to throwing a load in the washer to getting nourishment for self to getting the dry clothes off the line, replacing them with wet ones and folding the next week's wear. then i playing with v so she has a healthy upbringing, then i feed her again, put her down for nap, FINALLY I HAVE MY TIME so i can hoe and rake and plant or put beans on the stove top. thank goodness for crock pots!
    but why? why do i feel so rushed all the time?(i feel like this is a post of my own anyway, i NEED to treasure the time i have now with my little v. shell never be this age again and she grows so fast. i see my own parents - all their little ones finally jumped ship. i want to, now, enjoy my yard. we will probably get evicted soon, so i must go on walks, sit under the tree, love my garden now before its gone

    ok, that all was way too long for a comment. im sorry

  3. anyway, what fun it sounds to take the time to draw, to cuddle, to enjoy people . . . i feel reading takes away from my life, not adds to it as i used to.

    by the way - where did yoo learn that about pigs?!

  4. I am certainly not a rusher--I love to spend hours on an outing and take my time on things to point that at the end of the day I think, "I really could have got more done."
    Though I realize you are saying you accomplish more and feel better when you slow down.
    This makes me think I just need to be more goal-oriented, not faster.
    I've always admired how organized you are and how much you accomplish.