Article, YouTube audio podcast, and photo's by Rain San Martin.
The Slow Living Movement is a cultural
reaction to the hurried, busy, and distracted way of life commonly
know in the 21st century. Single tasking, minimal screen
time, intentional living, and old-fashioned homemaking are
common characteristics of a Slow Living lifestyle.
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Margin is Key for Slow Living
Rushing from one activity to another may make us feel productive, yet can be a form of hurried busyness. Let's take a look at the definition of Busy Work: “Work that usually appears productive or of intrinsic value but actually only keeps one occupied.” To regain tranquility, reduce stress, and be more efficient in our work, we need ample margin in our time. For example: When going to appointments, aim to arrive early. Drive at a relaxed pace without dangerous texting or smart-phone use. Enjoy the scenery. Roll down your window. Feel the breeze. Notice the ambient sounds of your town or city.
Though I didn't realize it at the time,
I was initially drawn to the vintage lifestyle because I longed for
many benefits shared with those in the Slow Living movement. An unplugged or minimalist-tech way of life, being chief among them. A life free from mobile devices. Allowing ourselves to fully live in the moment, reflect on fond past memories, and make plans for the future.
Working in the Zone
Rather than multitasking, (which is often a rapid switch from one task to another) single tasking is the way to lose oneself in work. Yet it's understood you may have to pause your project at hand for more pressing matters. Listening to music while you work is no longer vital, as you may have thought. Working like a monk in silence allows you to hear the sounds of nature, or even the musical rhythms of city life. Which brings us to another benefit: Deep thinking and contemplative introspection. Removing excess noise and stimuli will allow our brains to "breath". This is where many ideas are born. We can pray throughout the day. "Be still, and know that I am God." (-Psalm 46:10) Choose the creative process over immediate gratification. Instead
of making more purchases, many choose to craft cards, sew a
garment, prepare whole foods at home, make a DIY (Do It Yourself) project, or paint their homes interior
instead of calling on a hired hand.
There has been a "Slow Homemaking" movement which has emerged in recent times. The idea is to enjoy the process of making a home. Not to feel hurried and overwhelmed. Work with vigor, yet set your own pace. "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." (Proverbs 31:17) Schedule in your rest breaks. Perhaps you would like to make your home feel like a Bed and Breakfast? Many people feel they must visit a bed and breakfast to get away from a panicked lifestyle. We can dive into decluttering, deep cleaning, and work towards creating a tranquil atmosphere in our homes. These habits will help to build a peaceful oasis.
In her book, Mrs. Sharon White advocates the Slow Homemaking approach, a decade before it's present day craze. The essay titled, The Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking, which is also a blog post, illustrates how there are two approaches to managing the home full-time. One way involves a substantial amount of time entertaining, running in a hurried manner, with a packed schedule. The other way has margin to breath, and is focused on making a home retreat.
A Meaningful Life
Often those in the Slow Living Movement reflect on their thoughts. Moments are savored. Time is taken to review ones commitments to see which ones could be culled to make space for the most valued rituals, activities, and pursuits. This is intentional living!
May you enjoy your daily work, and find inspired replenishment in your rest and recreational adventures.
You can also listen to this blog post on my YouTube channel here.