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The Radical Act of Going Slow


This world goes quicker than most of us can handle. We can’t take a few days off work without being overwhelmed by our inbox nevermind the inability to contain it if we went on any sort of significant leave. In fact, many of my clients have even After two decades of supporting families through grief, loss and change the one piece of advice I use most often is to go slow.


It is without question the first action step in making or experiencing big change and while we could go down the path of intellectualizing this radical idea, the absolute best proof that this truly is good for your body mind and spirit is trying it out.


BODY SLOWNESS


Slowly your body down

Try intentionally walking at a slightly slower pace, maybe brush your teeth for the full cycle (until the beeping tells you to stop), stretch before you get out of bed. take a moment where the soles of your feet feel the ground, pet the dog for just a little longer. All of these small acts of slowing your body down not only provides you with some breathing space physically but mentally and spiritually as well. It means you are absorbing more around you, that you are being intentional about the way you are being in the world.


When you are going through big experiences, we often find ourselves getting lost in the busyness and the hustling and then wonder why we are exhausted. We insist on still hitting our step goals, our intermittent fasting regime or even our social schedules. Then we crash and burn and wonder why. By introducing a sense of slowness in the way we move, we are in fact, reserving energy for what we are experiencing and cultivated a sense of care not only for ourselves but for those around us. No one wants to feel like they are a burden or that you only showed up because you felt you had too.


When I am going through a big change or experience, I tie a string around my wrist with a small little bell on it. When the bell tinkles, I am reminded to slow down. It often means I am a minute or two late for casual meetings, or when others are delayed I am grateful for the space.


MENTAL SLOWNESS


There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying “I would like to think more on this, can I get back to you?” yet so very often this world requires us to have instant brilliance and solutions. And when things then go sideways, we often find ourselves saying things like “Well, hindsight is 20/20”. I challenge the idea that you could have only seen a better solution having gone through it, you actually could have come up with a better solution if you gave into the “let’s sleep on it” mentality.


Slowing your Mind Down

As someone who spends much of their time supporting people through grief, loss and change. You can imagine the number of “crisis calls” or late night emergencies I receive. Of course, I respond with the importance of meeting people where they are but very often the calls come down to this simple statement “Go Slow. Rest as best you can and let’s regroup in the morning to come up with a plan.”


A client of mine often states that she just needs to have “a nap about it.” A metal settling of sorts puts some distance between us and the urgency of a problem and often quelches the urgency feeling with the desire for an action plan.


This healthy boundary is so very important in a fast paced world. It cultivates not only space for us to think through the consequences of our decisions but also allows us to fill our cup before pouring it all over.


SPIRITUAL SLOWNESS


Spiritual slowness is one of those things that on the surface feels quite natural to us. The idea that spirituality is a practice that is cultivated and shaped over a lifetime.

That is hasn’t got one big goal other than to feel connected, be a good person or in some cases connects us to a higher being.


But what does it mean when actually hold onto the slowness of spirit? Could it mean we spend time feeling what we need to feel before we “do the right thing?” Could it mean that instead of meditating the anger or impatience away we actually connect to the reasons it exists?


We see so many people, in the limelight or in our lives who appear to be aligning themselves with religious or spiritual practices but then later find out that what they actually do is quite the opposite. We all do this. everyday. Most of us however, do it in small microcosmic ways not under the scrutiny of millions.




Realigning your practice Slowly

Slowing down Spiritually could mean aligning your beliefs with your actions in meaningful ways. It could mean starting from slowing down and practicing discernment first. A great example of this is someone who has conflicting values around being pro-choice. On one hand they believe that women have a right to choose what they do with their bodies but on the other, they are not ok with Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). It is in the practice of spiritual slowness or personal discernment that we can become better aligned with our beliefs and values.


It is in my humble opinion, that we would see a lot less judgement in the world if we intentionally practiced slowness in our days. If we considered that our first opinion was not always the best opinion. That perhaps we don’t need to be the one who knows first, we need to be the one who spent the time thinking things through for an extra beat or ten.


You made it to the end of this post, and now I have a couple reflections for you:



Did you read the whole thing or skim through?


Did it feel irritatingly slow or did you find yourself slowing down to meet it?


My practice of going slow irritates the very fast people in my life. That's why it's a radical act. It's a radical act to go slow when the world expects you to keep up. I am a slow walker, I like to be creative, I love ideation but every now and then, my slowness rubs off. I see a settling in the person across the table from me, a leaning back of sorts. Their bodies melt just a little and their breathing deepens. The moments become longer, time slips and before we know it, we have both learned to just be present.

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