“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 :)
Here is the second part of my interview with published author Matt Johnson.
Today Matt and I talk prostitutes, unsolicited emails, new famous friends, the magical abilities of Rachel Abbot and more...
Apologies, this video was a bit too long for this website so I have popped it up as an unlisted video in YouTube. You can get to it here or by clicking on the image below :)
note: Please don't laugh at how close I was to the camera...rookie error :)
Find out more about Matt on his website here.
Matt's Twitter is @Matt_Johnson_UK
Yvonne's Twitter is @Yandersonwriter
Matt and I met through good ole Twitter a few years ago and when I moved to the UK we met up at one of his first events through in Glasgow. We had a nice dinner and good chat and I was pleased when he said "alright then" when I asked to interview him for this blog!
The interview went on for a bit (we talked so much) so I have divided it into 2 parts.
This is Part 1. It runs for around 27 minutes yet I hope you take the time to get some gems from a newly published author :)
NOTE: The video player on here can be a bit sticky and you might have to press the play button in the middle and on the left a few times before it plays...an annoying little glitch.
I hope you enjoyed that and watch out for Part 2 where Matt and I talk prostitutes, unsolicited emails, new famous friends, the magical abilities of Rachel Abbot and more...
Find out more about Matt on his website here.
Matt's Twitter is @Matt_Johnson_UK
Yvonne's Twitter is @Yandersonwriter
So many people have asked me lately how they can read my kindle book without a kindle device.
So since I have been asked this question many time, I thought I would write a wee blog about it.
I have no kindle, how can I read an Ebook?
Ok, don't panic. Here's what you do.
If you already have an Amazon account go to Step 3 below.
If you don't yet have an Amazon account.
Go to an Amazon store of your country. If you are in Australia they have a store so New Zealanders would use this store or the Amazon USA store.
Go to Your Account and see below for new customer.
You will then see this screen.
Simply fill in your details.
Remember or write down the details as you will need this when you download the Kindle App from your Android or Apple store.
When you have done this you can put in the credit card information you will use to purchase from the store.
Go to your App store on any smartphone or tablet or even your laptop and type in Kindle. It will come up with Kindle app and it will be free. Sometimes they have an offer of a free book too!
So when you first open it you will need to enter in your Amazon account details, email and password you set up above.
Buy a book from your Amazon store and it will appear in the cloud tab on your device when you open it on your phone/tablet or laptop. You can then download it to your device so you can read offline too.
You can now enjoy reading until your eyes cross.
I thought that writing the end on my book was enough. I would pop it up online and voila!
Alas, I came to realise that like anything, you need to promote the sh*t out of it!
Luckily, I have run my own business for several years and know the 'behind the scenes' stuff that I must now do.
So with optimism and a fire in my belly, I head into a whole new form of social media marketing to promote my book and aim to get some nice reviews. I have already had some here but I hear (from many many sources) that Amazon likes reviews and they like a lot.
Their algorithms must be amazing because my mum tried to review my book and cleverly it detected that my manuscript was uploaded on the same IP and so it must be me trying to promote my own book- they don't like that!! New authors out there, they also knew to stop my sister's review as she had the same second name as mum (I am guessing here but it is nowhere to be found)!
So tricks for new players. Don't get family to review your book. Period. Although over on Goodreads maybe they can :)
I got to talk with a brill author yesterday and he gave me some crazy good insights that got my brain firing.
I find that you may as well reach out to other authors, they can only say no but sometimes they say yes to a chat and it can be an enlightening experience. Nobody else I currently know has written a fiction book and so often you can feel a little lonely.
I encourage you to come here to say hello (or find me on Twitter) and I promise you that I pride myself on being a good communicator and will actually chat with you.
So if you are a new author and want a new author as a friend then say hello :)
My door is always open...unless when I am writing and then my door is very firmly closed.