Friday, July 28, 2006

Slowing Down

"Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life...When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality. -- Thoreau from Walden"

Choosing to live in the compact has forced us to slow down. We have slowed down because we have the opportunity to stop and think about what we need (or want) and why we feel that we have this need. It has forced us to live rather than speed off to the next event.

Most of us are so plugged in that we often don't experience life. We tend to have overpacked, overscheduled days and rush from one event to another. Our kids are overscheduled. No wonder everyone seems to have no or little time for anyone else.

My children know how to slow down. They do not sit for hours plugged into the television. Instead, they find a pile of sticks and build a fort. They find rocks and and old lumber and make a "teeter totter". I encourage them to explore the environment and not come back until they are muddy. Let children learn how to feed their imagination and they will succeed in doing so. The children will stop and study a bug on the ground and follow it to its home.

I spoke to my mother in law last night. She told me that when she was in college she had a professor who told the class that the next time they were in the the car that they should turn off the radio and listen to the slice of life around them. Try it. Literally stop and smell the roses. I don't mean sniff them as you walk past - stop and breath deeply.

There is a wonderful "slow food" movement across the globe. It was started a number of years ago in Italy. It opposes fast food and promotes dining for pleasure. It opposes the standardization of food and prefers the use of local area foods. The movement has taken off. People want to slow down.

Until I joined the compact I did not know how to slow down. I was consumed with work, children, home, and all of my other responsibilities. I was worried about needs and purchasing items. I did not have time. Now that I have chosen to step away from the endless cycle of purchasing and consuming, I have time. I enjoy life. I am choosing to live and am living deliberately.

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