Slowing Down

So many of us move at breakneck pace through life, trying to cram in so much we can’t absorb the smell of lilac or gentle touch of a child or our lover in our frenetic paces. Many of my friends are consciously trying to Slow down,  teaching our families to move slower in the languid summer months to recooperate from the stress-filled school year.  Hopefully some Slow living can still exist into the fall.

Carl Honoré’s book In Praise of Slowness, now four years old, made me think about my life as I read though it. Honore was one of the more entertaining speakers we saw at the Printer’s Row Book Fair earlier this month, (6/8/08 posting), so I read his first book waiting for my local library to have a copy of his new book  Under Pressure available.

Broken into succinct chapters, In Praise of Slowness talks about bringing Slowness into different areas of our lives: cities, education, food, mind/body, work, sex, leisure, and children.  He uses research and stories about how people were able to improve their lives by Slowing down–while not eschewing the technologies that we daily use. 

We already try to incorporate some of his ideas into our daily lives;  one of the most together and focused times we have are the days we can have a family-meal.  We try to do this 4-5 nights at week, and it’s when we talk about our day and discuss the next day’s plans/schedules. It’s much easier during the summer months to do this.

A well-thought out approach to slowing-down many aspects of our lives, he brings anecdotes from people and organizations worldwide to show how speed is impacting all of us.  If we can teach ourselves to Slow down in one area, that Slowness might  flow into other areas of our lives. I personally do not want to Slow down as much as some people in his book, but I have become more aware of my driving speed, our eating habits, and my children’s actitives since reading his book.

I want to ask Honoré if he rides horses.  It’s the natural instinct when approaching a jump in a course to speed up, lean forward, and charge at it, which will only help launch us over the horse’s head.  My trainer has said on number of occasions:  “Wait for it. Wait for it” even while picking up a little pace and “Don’t jump ahead of the horse” as I approach the jump.   My nerves settle and the jump is smooth and comfortable, not hurried and sloppy, so I can concentrate and ride to the next jump.

Whether there truly is a global “movement” to Slow down–though there are certainly organizations that espouse Slowing down– I can’t answer, but I hope to infuse a little Slowness in my family’s existence this summer.  In between work and chauffering and meal preparation and spending time with my kids and reading my book and exercise and writing and taking photos,  I think I can squeeze Slowness in.  (ha) C

6/24: In response to my blog, Carl Honoré had this to say in an email about his link to horses:

Love(d) you blog. I used to ride a bit when I was a child and I remember that feeling of having to slow down to the horse’s rhythm, or at least not try to force it. T(ha)t is one of the nice things about animals – they know their tempo giusto and they’re sticking to it.
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