“Slow” encompasses several layers of meaning that go beyond simply “sustainable.” Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience. (From the Slow Living summit website.)
I started listening to a podcast recently called The Slow Home Podcast. I went right down to the first episode and popped in my earphones.
What I realised rather quickly was that I have been living like this for most of my life. Having lived in 3 different countries over the past 12 years, I can honestly be really ruthless at letting go of my possessions. At the point of writing my hubby and I literally own approximately 4.5cubic metres of 'stuff' and it isn't even all in the one place...
I have learnt over the past 12 years that we never really own anything, it kinda owns us.
Modern consumerism baffles me and yes I do like shopping but if I am being completely honest, I get an icky feeling when I accumulate. Maybe it is years of culling and decluttering but I try to buy one throw one nowadays.
Whenever I buy something new, I chuck something out to make room for it.
Yet there are some ways in which, especially over the past year, I have not been slow.
So as I write this all down, it allows me to see where I can improve and where I can lean into the slowness again.
Remember: “Slow” embodies cooperation, respect, sustainability, gratitude and resilience.
Being respectful could start with you. Being sustainable can be easy when you start to notice how. Allowing gratitude to become part of your daily life can be as simple as telling yourself that evening what you were grateful for that day- start small. Resilient can mean changing your mindset on a moment by moment basis by choosing to live in gratitude and abundance rather than fear and lack.
If this is slow living, would you choose it?
Just a little idea...listen to this whilst reading the following...
A reminder to sink in
A way of allowing skin
To settle into space
To take you into grace
My recent post on doing Yoga every damn day received a lot of love in a yoga group I am part of in Facebook. I was excited that I had found something I could do daily that brought me back to myself and allowed me to lean into all that was wrong and everything that was right during the course of an entire year.
Yet a couple of weeks ago after a particularly deep backbend just after my year was up, I went into the shower and dropped something, went to pick it up and felt my back go. The pain was unbearable and like nothing I had ever experienced before.
I went to stand up and couldn't.
I had to make an emergency appointment at my mum's chiropractor who informed me the next day that I had trapped a nerve in my lower spine.
I was devastated. He advised me to simply do savasana as I had to be extremely careful of my spine.
After the second treatment I felt amazing and had no pain. In the absence of pain I went back to do my daily 8km walk with hubby and began 15 minute yoga sessions again.
I woke up today and was putting on my shoes to go for another walk and I felt the pain in my back come back, this time much worse than before.
Luckily I had a scheduled appointment with the chiropractor this afternoon. When I told him what had happened he reminded me that just because I didn't have pain, it didn't mean the trapped nerve was fixed (that will take twice weekly sessions for up to 6 weeks to heal).
I came home and wrote the above poem. I have to remind myself to sink in and allow rather than tighten up and deny.
I think we could approach everything we do with this reminder.
We can come from a place of hurt and sink in.
We can come from a troubled place and sink in.
We can be angry and sink in.
We can be happy and sink in.
We can be in the middle of an argument with someone and sink in.
We can go with something even if it feels painful and tight.
We are all trying to stay positive in a world where actually, things might not look so damn rosy. We can take ourselves to a bad space if we try too hard to always be looking at the bright side.
I'm not for one moment saying don't go with the awesome flow, I'm just saying that sometimes we need to go to a place of sadness and sink in and allow.
In that place we can heal.
I wrote a whole book on this...
Come over and say hi on my Facebook page and tell me how you might start to remind yourself to sink in.
Just because you can't see the wounds
It doesn't mean they aren't there
Mar my heart
My hidden art
So exactly a year ago today I began a practice of Yoga. I chose a very popular channel on YouTube called Yoga With Adriene and started her 30 day yoga challenge.
I ended up enjoying it (and her) so much that I decided to keep going and try 60 days. Well that 60 days turned into 90 then 180 and so I kept going.
I started at the very beginning of her videos going back several years. I chose one every day and just like that I rolled my mat out every damn day.
Yoga was something I had tried in the past but I just found it too slow. I loved being in a gym in a spin class and not on a mat breathing deeply into a certain pose. It just wasn’t for me.
Now it is.
I guess I began doing this daily practice because I was suffering. I was suffering with a move across the world for the third time and I felt like I had lost parts of myself in that mess.
I was told that yoga was kinda like my mindfulness practice except a moving one, a moving meditation. I was told that it would get me fit and even though I felt I was already fit I thought maybe it would help my strength.
So I guess I started yoga for some of the right reasons and to be honest, I just wanted something other than meditation to stick to every damn day.
Fast forward 365 days from that first downward dog on my mat to now...
It's no longer about what the pose looks like, it's about what the practice as a whole feels like...
I no longer do it for aesthetics or fitness but rather for solitude, alertness, vibrancy and vitality.
I have been overweight and a perfect weight on my mat. I have cried on this mat, loved on this mat, been heartbroken on this mat. I have been ill on this mat. I have almost given up on this mat but some small voice, deep deep inside, kept asking me to come back to it anyway.
To keep melting into poses, to lean into stillness and the sound of my own fragile breath.
I have also found that some of my greatest ideas for future novels and many of my poems have been born on this mat. In fact my newest book (a poetry book), which will be out soon, was mostly composed during the past year both on and off the mat!!
I have struggled on this mat and yet I persevered and listened to my heart.
My shortest practice (when I was ill) was a mere 3 minutes and my longest was over an hour.
I felt very proud and very emotional today when I free flowed on my mat, because of course I did the last 30 days how I began, with the 30 day yoga challenge.
Adriene encourages her viewers to free form and do whatever they want in this particular practice and, now that I know so much more about asanas, I get to choose and find what Adriene’s motto says “find what feels good”.
I am kinder to myself now both on and off the mat. I find peace in my movements and can also tell when my body needs more love or less food, or more from me in some way.
I thought I was mindful before, yet these days I feel way more in tune with everything.
Being a yogi has taught me to be even more giving in this world where so many people seem to be taking.
It has taught me to just stop making drama for myself as there is quite enough in the world already. It has taught me the beautiful and the ugly in my thoughts and how one feels so much more nourishing than the other.
I extend this idea to you...
If you are a writer like me and you often can’t get out of your own way with either excuses not to write or, no ideas when you do, then I can highly recommend yoga for assisting you.
What I love about Adriene is her playful and often ‘dirty’ humour and her ability to hold a space for me on the mat.
I would recommend, if you do fancy giving it a go, trying her foundations of yoga series on YouTube a go.
Your creativity just may thank you :)