The Slow Project
As I wrote about last week, I have been trying to slow down, to stop and enjoy all the things that I have been missing as I speed through my days while constantly plugged in via cell phone, facebook, twitter, or email.
Since the response was so great to that posting, I realized that maybe I wasn’t the only one with the same problem. So, I decided to embark on a little adventure and report on my progress on each of the ideas I talked about, along with what I have learned along the way, and possibly add some other ideas and tips I get along the way.
I got this idea by following fellow Care2 contributor, Michelle Schoffro Cook’s “Kindness Revolution.”
I am also asking that you join me in my quest to slow down the pace of your life and see what you learn along the way. Just as Michelle has asked, I am asking that if you’d like to slow down and join the slow movement, please comment here and share with others what you have learned along the way.
So, I started with the first item on my “slow” list: “Take time to relax every day!” It doesn’t have to be for hours at a time. Even 5 or 10 minute “mini-breaks” spread out over the course of the day can make a big difference. Let’s see how I am doing with this one.
This has been hard for me to do every day for a week, since there never seems to be enough hours in a day and there are so many things I want to do on top of those I have to do. And, since I do work that I love so much, I don’t always think of it as work and somehow think it’s okay to just keep going since that’s not really “breaking the slow rules.”
But, I kept making myself stop to breathe and walk away from the desk or the chore or whatever I was doing. I started by walking out to the garden to take in the sights and sounds of nature. However, I realized when I did this, I felt compelled to weed, prune, or fertilize and for me, it wasn’t relaxing. That’s why I switched to sitting on the front porch to start on the big stack of magazines that I have been saving for when I “have time.”
And I have to admit, with each day I started to make a conscious effort to just stop for a bit, has not only made me more aware of what I am doing, but it has made me start to realize what I have been missing in my rush and desire to fill my days. For example, I took the time to go with my dad for a walk along the beach. Not only did I slow down for it, I also got exercise in, something I also seem to forgo in my frantic pace.
It has even been noticeable to other people. When I went to my farmers’ market on Tuesday, I stopped to say “hello” to one of my favorite farmers like I do every week. But, I usually rush by on my way to the next item on my to-do list. This time, I lingered a bit longer and asked him about his day, his farm and his ballroom dancing, and he even said, “Hey, thanks for spending so much time chatting with me today.”
I enjoyed reconnecting so much with people in my life that I made a “date” to meet a friend at the local botanic garden for lunch and to enjoy the rose garden while it is still in bloom. This was part of my goal to take a bigger relaxation break at least once a week by going to observe nature at a local garden or park.
This week, I have a lunch date with a friend who is more over-committed than I am and volunteers more than I do. It has literally taken us about six months to make the time. We have made a pact that there will be “no note taking, to-do lists, or volunteering, just fun!” I will let you know how we did and if we managed to stick to our pact.