Living slowly

A great lesson from the South to the North: LIVE SLOWLY

Over here we live such a hectic life, always so busy… We eat fast, we walk fast, we talk fast… We jump from one activity to another without any pauses. Our agendas are at their limits…

Everywhere items are on sale. Lots of them are interesting, good, healthy… We can easily fall, WITH VERY GOOD INTENTIONS, into the frenetic consumerism of events, talks, meetings, even people. CONSUMING AND RUSHING go together.

Doing a conscious exercise of “knowing when to say no” can give us space. This space, or time, is, above all, for our mental health. When the agenda is too full, your mind can be thinking about the next activity you have to do. We can simply ask ourselves how much MENTAL SPACE is going to occupy something suggested to us. We can’t be a part of everything that is offered to us. We have to choose. It’s impossible to consume everything.

We can gobble life like someone who eats too fast. Or we can savour the present, we can squeeze the juice out of it. We can skate over life’s surface fast and without really living it. Without looking in depth at the essential aspects of what we do, even if it’s talking, walking, looking at an image, doing every day work, taking care of our children, cooking…

Fast rhythm takes us to distraction, which reduces the capacity of empathic listening towards everyone else.

When we buy in a rush don’t we make mistakes? Don’t we do everything differently when we are in a rush?

We need silence, to feed on what makes us grow, physical and mental rest, space to live, to look at God, to have fun with friends, with your love ones, for intimacy.

Living slowly gives us the ability to help other people without overwhelming them, without using your phone, without thinking about other things.

Living slowly helps us not to be overwhelmed by being asked a thousand things. Life can be squandered without misinterpreting generosity to losing one’s self to an action. To consciously choose what we get into, knowing that we are not indispensable. That after saying yes, we feel at peace. That we will be able to love what we are going to do. To open the door to other people that can do what you say no to, suggest, increase the circle.

Living slowly helps us to become conscious of what is happening around and inside us. To feel the sun, the heat of the mug I have between my hands, the non-verbal language of he who passes by or tells us something.

We can do “little exercises” where our will can help us:

  • To not go with just the exact amount of time.
  • To go to sleep early, to sleep enough.
  • To distinguish when you have to turn your phone off completely, when to silence it.
  • To observe our house in silence to see what it says to us, what it tells us.
  • Not saying anymore “I don’t have time”, “I’m too busy”.

We can also put a measure to our daily lives, and ask ourselves:

  • Do I walk for no reason?
  • Do I leave time to meditate in silence? Do any other things distract me from this time?
  • Is there a place for God in our agendas?
  • Do I cook over low heat?
  • Do I play with my child, do I listen to his or her questions?
  • Do I pay attention to my partner?
  • Do I know what people around me need? Could I put it into words thinking in each and every one of them?
  • Is my agenda too full?

Living slowly to me means to reduce the number of things in which I take part in: events, meetings, reunions… It is not that I want to isolate myself, but to PRIORITIZE THAT WHICH GIVES ME LIFE.

Let’s learn from the South. We usually say that the countries in the South are slow, unhurried and thus, inefficient. We believe that is why they don’t progress. How blind we are to see it like that. They beat us in many human values: hospitality, spirituality, community support, capacity to be happy with having little… Couldn’t there be some relation between living slowly and values?

We all have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day. How we use those hours… will depend on our choices.

Written by Anabel Jiménez

Translated by Adrian Chapple