Living The Slow, Unhurried LifeDecember 13, 2012
Here on our small homestead, there are always chores and hobbies that keep us centered, happily focused on what we consider important. We have our daily routines and we have our diversions — both give us the ability to enjoy our days and our blessings.
We both deeply appreciate what has been provided to us and we realize that we have been shaped by past generations no longer here. We have seen good times and rough patches, even some challenges — all within our lifetime. But we have supportive families and our chosen lifestyle and our life philosophy enable us to enjoy what we consider to be important.
Sometimes we feel that the world is spinning too fast. We try not to be rushed, preferring the slow, unhurried life. We also try not to be too influenced by those who have chosen different paths at different speeds. One of the advantages of living as we do is that we understand the fundamental purpose to our lives. And we don’t need piles of store-bought stuff to help us along our way.
We don’t own the latest gadgets or have much to do with the ever-encroaching, ever-faster e-world. I’ve never owned (or even held) a Blackberry or an iPad or iPhone. And I’ve never watched anything on Netflix or listened to streaming radio. I’ve never sent “a text”. Our television is the antiquated tube-style model with a curved screen. Most of our machinery works with electricity but we also have some back-up machinery that runs manually. The only real automation at our place is the computer and internet connection, and that’s enough for us. If it became necessary, we’d get by without the computer world. I even remember life-before-computers — don’t you? Somehow we managed, even thought it meant making trips to the library instead of a fast look-up from the internet.
Sometimes I look at the snarled mass of wires that are bundled around a personal computer and I realize how closely this resembles modern life. Full of twists and loops and jumbled strands of energy. There is an odd similarity, as we have allowed our lives to become so very entangled.
Living the slow, unhurried life is actually not a difficult pursuit — and it doesn’t need to start at retirement! Living at an easy pace and slowing down deliberately grows into joy-filled moments and contentment. There is no secret to doing this — it begins with personal priorities. People are realizing this and more of us have shunned many of the modern complexities as we search for ways to slow down and enjoy life. On our homestead, we keep society’s frantic rat race at a distance — it’s not for us. We don’t want a life that’s too fast or hectic. To us, life is a gift to be savored and enjoyed — slowly.
Living a simplified lifestyle, free from many of society’s expectations, gives us the ability to become more contemplative. We can define our priorities. Our obligations are a matter of personal choice. We choose to live simply and this simplified lifestyle is very liberating.
We choose to work deliberately with our own labor and hands. And we choose to raise most of our own food to sustain us. Many of the tasks we choose are laborous, but we enjoy the process. We are content knowing that our efforts contribute to our lifestyle. I would much rather sit in the den with a needle between my fingers than in a board room with a keyboard at my fingertips.
And I’m not alone. There is a ground swell across America and people are simplifying their lives. Many people realize that the home and the family are much more important than the trappings of our corporate world and consumer society. People are slowing down, returning to home-grown foods, to time-honored crafts, and to the joy of home life.
“There is a movement called The Slow Movement that talks about Slow Food, Slow Textiles, Slow Life, etc. Apparently it started in Italy and has seen converts since the 90s because of its philosophy of not doing things at a fast speed or a snail’s pace, but at a more appropriate level. According to its promoter, Carl Honore, it means to savor moments instead of counting them.” (From Slow Movement Not A New Idea by Jeannine Roediger)
So this ground swell, this collective interest to slow down that some people have, is mindful of time and how we utilize it. The Slow Movement offers people a philosophy, or a reason, around the hectic consumer-driven lifestyles that have worn so many of us down. The Slow Movement encourages people to become more focused on the pursuits they enjoy and why their pursuits are important. Creativity through work, craft, or hobby inspires people to seek personal happiness, provenance, or sustainability that they might be interested in. Slowing down is really quite simple — follow the heart and enrich yourself.
Elaine Lipson, a writer, editor, and artist, took the Slow Movement and applied the Slow Movement to her craft. Lipson even proposed a list of ten principles or qualities of “Slow Cloth” that related to the process of creating textiles. The phrase “Slow Cloth” was recently coined to recognize “the possibility of joy in the process.” As a quilter and overall fiber-enthusiast, I’ve personally enjoyed how those who pursue “Slow Cloth” have grown more contemplative of their textile-based passions. Jude Hill, textile artist extraordinaire (who I call a “clothist“), exemplifies the slow unhurried life in her blog Spirit Cloth. Jude is living the slow, unhurried life, too. So very refreshing.
It’s the journey, not the destination.
Do you live the slow, unhurried life? Do you stop and notice how wonderful the small things are?