In a Mad Rush World, How Does Slow Living Help?
Riya Sharma crossed the road, hurriedly waving bye to her school going daughter and dashed towards her apartment. Though she was physically waiting for the elevator, mentally she was already in her office. Riya rushed through her days on autopilot. Life was a running competition where speed mattered, as the race got intense every-day.
What sense does it make to ‘run in’, ‘run out’, ‘run around’ and ‘run back’? Life is about ‘being’ and not zipping. Thich Nhat Hanh’s wise words explain it so well.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
When ‘doing more’ becomes our life mantra we end up ‘being less’. Modern lifestyle advocates more of everything while constantly hammering into our mind that time is an extremely limited commodity. Hence, with infinite options and choices, cramming remains the only option.
Carl Honoré, the author of the book ‘In Praise of Slowness’, says, "A fast approach tends to be a superficial one, but when you slow down you begin to engage more deeply with whatever it is you’re doing.”
What is Slow Living?
Slow living is not the speed of life or doing any activity slowly. Slow doesn't mean being lazy, procrastinating, become indifferent or indecisive.
Slow living is not about those pictures on Pinterest and Instagram of families basking in sunlight, meditation in candle light or exotic blooms dancing in a vase. Though hyped that way, it is not about perfection.
Slow living doesn’t involve personality transformation. It doesn’t ask you to eliminate technology, but advocates using it as a tool and not making it your master.
Why the Movement?
The fast pace of modern life turns our homes into a blur of chaos leaving everyone feeling, restless, tired and depleted. The disconnection from life offers no time and space for joy, association and contentment. Running from one task to another in search of that elusive calm and peace is futile.
Stealing moments of grace from this crazy mad life is the first step towards slow living. We do this by exploring the correct pace for our family to enjoy moments of togetherness to converse and connect.
This practice has helped people to achieve a state of stability. Therefore, applying the principle of 'slow' to every aspect of life, home, school, books, food, travel and cities, is becoming a popular trend all over the world.
By learning to enjoy the present moment we appreciate the ‘here’ and ‘now’, instead of oscillating between the past and the future. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for stress reduction that enriches our life.
When our ‘to do’ list is short, available time lengthens. We can use this to reflect. Introspection offers creative ideas to resolve issues. The point is to consciously remove and reduce.
Engage in Enjoyment
By feeling 'enough' we step out of the rat race and completely immerse ourselves in whatever we are doing. This instills calmness in our heart and makes us feel grounded. Then we are engrossed in the movie we are watching without any urge to change the channel, reading the book without thinking of dinner, and stop scrolling the digital screens in search of nothing.
Complete the Essential
By focusing on the essentials, we can complete the important tasks. Multitasking makes us restless and unsatisfied. Slow life teaches us acceptance, patience and resilience. It makes us grateful for what is, instead of running towards, what is not.
Slowing down speeds up life. Yes, with less to do we become organized and productive. We stop restlessly jumping around from one task, one day, and one year to another.
Watch the sunset, chat with your friends, play with your toddler, enjoy that coffee and relish the food. Tasks can wait, time won’t. We have only one life, live it, don’t run through it.
(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel.)