I guess you could say that slow living is the glass and The Philosophy of Doing Less, Being Present, and Feeling More is the non-alcoholic wine poured into it. Well, insert any beverage of your choice here. It’s how I approach life and also what all of my work is focused on. So, I thought I’d expand on the manifesto here and share with you how I define slow living. It’s such a personal definition, as slow living is by no means new. It’s a term that we often see floating around lifestyle magazines or the topic of festival talks.
For me, it isn’t only about the pace through which we live our lives. I am all for a luxuriously slow start to the day, but I see slow living as way more than that. It is slowing down for long enough to remember what it means to be human. The kind of slowing down which allows us to be present, to connect with ourselves, to be in community with others and to appreciate and caretake this planet we call home. Rushing through life isn’t only about speed, it’s about perspective too. What are we missing when we aren’t present? What are we missing when we’re disconnected and distracted?
It’s like being in a taxi and irrespective of how fast you’re going, it’s your choice how you experience the journey. If you are looking out of the window with fresh eyes and a curious heart, you will see so much life happening; even if you’re pushing 70mph. If you are looking down and frantically responding to emails on your phone (no judgement, I’ve been there), but you’re travelling at 20mph, guess what, you won’t see a thing.
Slow living is a perspective. It’s a choice. It’s also pretty bloody difficult. But, it is deeply human. By human, I mean that we didn’t arrive here in these bodies, in these lives, on this Earth to only produce, hustle, push and force. We didn’t arrive here to bypass all of the nature that exists around us and all of the beauty that we ourselves and our ancestors created. We are here to exist. A constant cycle of doing and being, but never only doing. Yet, it feels like our go-to mode, which makes slow living feel unfamiliar to many of us.
As it’s a perspective and a remembering, the ways we can find a home within slow living are personal. If you have to wake-up at 5am, then let’s look at how you can reconnect with yourself in 3-5 minute intervals during the day. If you have an army of kids to look after, then let’s look at how the entire family can spend some time in the local park pretending that you’ve never been there before and see all the new things you notice. If you can’t afford the yoga or meditation classes, then let’s look at breathing on a bench during your lunch break while you let your senses regulate you.
The topic of slow living often lends itself to idyllic and super exclusive images of long walks in the countryside, wellness retreats that last for weeks, cottagecore-esque fashions and lots of dainty floral prints and linen. It’s giving ‘only read books on window seats and don’t watch reality TV’. It certainly can be all of those things, all of those things are gorgeous, I long for a window seat (but I’d like it in a city please). But, as both a Black woman and a born and raised Londoner who has a bordering on unhealthy love affair with New York City, I never felt included in that picture. We get to redefine it, modernise it, make it more inclusive and accessible. Make it more…us.
There should never be a price attached to being well. Or any other clique-y barriers. It’s time to have a democratic approach to joy, healing and reflection. We all deserve to participate fully in our existence here.
I am allergic to rules, one size fits all approaches and endless formulas and methods. I want this to be a collaborative space where we share what it means to be human together. We are all so deeply connected. We need each other and none of this stuff even matters, unless we hold, support, learn and grow into it together. So, do get in touch with me on Instagram, contribute your story to the newsletter or come to Repose where we can sit together. I can’t wait to hear from you.