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Sunday / July 3.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: Slow Down

The Last Word: Slow Down

We live in a fast-food, fast-talk, fast-paced age. We eat on the run, talk on the run and work on the run. The thought of slowing down seems absurd.

In our quest to lead successful lives, we juggle our many responsibilities and lose sight of what’s important. We rush our breakfast to get to work, get annoyed if we have to wait in line for our coffee, rush through lunch, dart through the traffic to make our appointments or get home, then collapse on the lounge and stare blankly at the screen.

We build our friendships through Facebook and tell our families we’re too busy to go to Uncle Bert’s for a BBQ. We’re time poor and try to squeeze as much into our crackberries as possible. Everything must be done now! Porridge is instant, news is ‘as it happens’ and our dinners are premade. Pizza is ordered, made and delivered to our door within 30 minutes and if it’s a minute longer we expect it for free.

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… rushing is not restricted to our work environment. We rush our food, our family time and even our recreation

We wear the stress of obligations as a medal, as if our ability to withstand stress confirms strength of character. We are unavailable to our family and friends and haven’t got the time to sit and read a book. We race through a checklist of obligations without time for a single mindful breath. Is this really the model of success?

Life is about instant gratification. The reality is that the more we speed up, the more we will tend to feel weary, stressed, overwhelmed and lost. Our days rarely feel light or enjoyable. The whole experience of living, which we should be cherishing, ends up looking like a pile of obligations.

A phenomenon called ‘The Slow Movement’ is gaining momentum around the world. It represents a cultural shift towards ‘living slow’, and is made up of groups of people that recognise their discomfort and now reject living life ‘in the fast lane’.

The Slow Movement emphasises our desire to find ‘connections’ – with people! To feel connected to our loved ones, society, places and to life itself. It states that “the speed of life weakens these connections … we often feel overscheduled, stressed and rushing towards the next task. This rushing is not restricted to our work environment. We rush our food, our family time and even our recreation.”

Whilst we can’t change our high-tech, hectic-scheduled world overnight, we can adjust our attitudes and mindsets.

The solution lies in the ability to downshift to a slower, more connected life. We need to ‘be mindful’ – pay attention – ‘be in the now’. Instead of answering our phone and making another appointment while having coffee with a friend, pay attention – ‘be in the now’ – with that friend.

Mindful living or ‘awareness’ is a way of life that encourages people to find calm by connecting with the present. It reminds us of who we are and helps us not get caught up in the trap of being a human doing, rather than a human being.

To read more on ‘The Slow Movement’, visit: www.slowmovement.com

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