In Praise of Slowness


Journalist Carl Honoré believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives. Honoré is best known for his advocacy of the Slow Movement. His book In Praise of Slowness dissects our speed-obsessed society and celebrates those who have gotten in touch with their "inner tortoise."
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What is Time Abundance?
Psychology Today blog: The Power of Slow
by Christine Louise Hohlbaum

November 7, 2009

Have you ever noticed how we talk about time? We often address it like a fierce competitor we have to beat to the finish line. We crunch it, beat it, and race against it. But I wonder what would happen if we were to treat time as a partner, as a friend, as the Siamese twin it was meant to be? In my book, time equals existence, not money as Benjamin Franklin was apt to say.

Let me back up. Time, in truth, is a construct. It is an organizing principle that helps us meet expectations, such as getting to the same restaurant at the same moment as your friend so you can have lunch. It is a useful tool in commerce, too. You wouldn't want to miss that shipment coming in from abroad, now would you? In fact, global time wasn't properly introduced until October 13, 1884 when a few folks from 26 nations gathered in Washington, DC to agree upon the prime meridian that sliced through the Greenwich Observatory's telescope in England. In that agreement, the Earth was placed into a girdle with 24 strands. We call them time zones. For anyone who's suffered jet lag, as I just have after a two-week trip to the US, you'll know the effect time change can have on you.

So if time is something we've made up, why do we engage in clock combat, that insidious striving to beat that which we cannot control? We often attempt to cram so much into our day that we are left breathless even trying to 'keep up.' But, what exactly are we keeping up with? My guess it is an imaginary standard as made-up as time itself.

I would claim multitasking is symptomatic of a much broader issue. We attempt to do two or more comparably difficult things at once (texting while driving comes to mind) because we think we don't have enough time. Truth be told, we are living longer than we ever have in human history. With an current average life expectancy of 78.11 years in the United States, we have a lot more time than we used to.

Time as friend? Now there's a thought. What would your life look like if you embraced a time abundant mentality?

Here's a fun task to try. The next time you are going somewhere and you think you might be late, turn off all distractions (radio, cell phone, iPod, etc) and simply concentrate on where you are going while observing the speed limit. Breathe deeply as you do and tell yourself "I will get there at the exact moment I need to." Chances are you will arrive in a state of bliss. Even if you are a few moments late according to the clock, you will have lived one of the basic priniciples of the power of slow ~ mindful living while being fully engaged in the here and now.

So go for it. Then tell me how you did!

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.

The Slow Secret: How to Make Lasting Changes in Your Life
by Leo Babauta
“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.” - William Shakespeare
How many times have you rushed into making changes in your life — a habit change, learning a new skill — only to have it flop?

It’s not just the New Year’s Resolution Syndrome — it happens too often at all times of the year, that we run out of steam or get discouraged and give up.

But here’s the secret, and I won’t charge you $29.95 for it: go slowly.

This little change has more power than most people realize. It will help to learn any skill, from martial arts to art to computer activities. It will help form habits that are long-lasting. Slowing down will help you become more effective and ironically, help reach goals faster.

If you’ve ever tried T’ai Chi (or Taijiquan), famous for its series of slow movements and poses, you’ve felt the power of slow. The slower you go in T’ai Chi, the better, for many reasons. One effect of this slowness is that you perfect the movements. And your body adapts, forming muscle memories that will last when (and if) you decide to speed up the movements.

It’s as if your body and mind are forming a groove through continual repetition of the movements. If you move quickly, you’ll be erratic, and the groove will be much more difficult to form. If you move slowly, you can learn to move in exactly the same pattern, in a more precise way, and a groove will form. Once the groove is formed, it becomes easier. It’s now habit, unconscious memory, and automatic.

This is habit formation, and usually it’s done without thought. When we drive home and our minds are on something else, but we make the right motions to get home anyway … this is habit, this is our minds and bodies going in a groove we’ve formed by doing these actions so many times before.

The groove is best formed by going slow, at first.

This applies to anything: exercise, eating healthy, creating art, becoming a patient parent, carpentry, reading. Slow is the secret to making it last. And no, that’s not meant to be dirty.

Some of the reasons slow works, besides forming a groove:

1. Mindfulness
. When you do something slowly, you can pay more attention to what you’re doing. I highly recommend that when you make changes, you do them mindfully, with full concentration. This increased awareness is necessary in the beginning, when you’re still forming the groove. Later, it’ll become automatic, but at first it’s anything but. You need to pay attention, and you can do this better when you do it slower.

2. You hold yourself back
. Holding ourselves back is often considered a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s the best thing we can do, if we want changes to last. When we start a new change, often we are full of enthusiasm. But then we go all out and use up all of that enthusiasm, and run out of motivation or energy or get distracted by something else. But when you hold yourself back, you build up enthusiasm and keep it going for much longer — through that dreaded 2-3 week barrier when people often quit. So even if you want to run 3 miles at first, start with walking and then run-walking (in intervals), and only do a mile or so. You’ll want to do more, but stop yourself. Save that enthusiasm for next time.

3. You learn it right
. Doing something slowly means you can learn to do it correctly, without being erratic, and later as it becomes second nature you’ll do it the right way. The importance is obvious in something like martial arts, but it’s also true in any physical activity. And every activity is physical (and mental).

4. Increased focus
. When you do something slowly, you tend to do just one thing. It’s hard to multi-task and do something slowly — they don’t mix well. When you single-task, you can focus, instead of always being distracted. This leads to increased effectiveness.

5. Calm
. Slow is calmer. Fast is hectic. Go slow to get rid of the chaos, and find peace.
“Slow down, everyone. You’re moving too fast.” - Jack Johnson

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
"Slow down, you move to fast.
Got to make the feeling last.
Skippin' down the cobblestone.
Lookin' for fun and...
Feelin' groovy."

~ Paul Simon

The Slow Life Movement
by Tonya Leigh Williams

Just B Living blog

Where you going?

Seriously, where are you going?

What’s the hurry?

This is what I asked myself this morning when I started to experience a little bit of anxiety around several projects that I have on the table.

For no reason at all, I started putting these rigid time limits on myself, which creates this crazy woman madness that usually results in a meltdown, ranging from small to massive.

In Western society, we seem to have two speeds, either all out speeds of lightening or halt.

The “halt” usually occurs when we just can’t go any further and either sickness or brain fog has taken over.
When clients come to me to lose weight, they most often want a fast, quick fix. They want to lose weight yesterday.

“What’s the hurry,” I ask them.

Sometimes I’ll hear things like a high school reunion or bathing suit season, but most often, they don’t know why they want it fast. They are just accustomed to wanting to lose weight fast.

Well, to all of you fast paced, gotta-have-it-yesterday people out there (and hey, I’m a part of that tribe too), let’s join the new movement of living slow.

There’s already people who have chosen to step outside of the mainstream fast society and start things like the slow food movement and live more intentionally and consciously versus running around like scattering rats chasing a piece of cheese that keeps moving.

In fact, while on a sailing trip, I saw a t-shirt that read, “Sail fast, live slow.”

Does it seem impossible to slow down?

Well, there are actually several good reasons why slowing down is a good thing.

1 – When you go slow, you get to savor the journey
Check out these two examples:

The Fast Paced Life

If you want to experience the devastation of the fast paced life, then simply drive through the McDonald’s drive thru window and order the Big Mac special. Now, eat it while also driving, listening to the radio and talking to the kids.

How long does it take? Maybe five minutes.

Did you really enjoy it? I mean really enjoy it?

How does your body feel? Energized? Or like a brick?

What about your emotions? Are you feeling excited and content? Or full of guilt and sadness?

Now, consider a different option:

The Slow Paced Life

Take the time to stop by the grocery store (or better yet, the local farmer’s market) and peruse the fresh, local vegetables. Pick it up and feel it, smell it, and maybe even taste it. Buy your groceries, go home, and with gratitude and excitement, start preparing your dinner.

Put some music on, light a candle and maybe even have a glass of wine.

Take some time out to help the kids with their homework while dinner is cooking. Maybe even do a load of laundry while Frank Sinatra (or Christine Kane) fills the background.

When dinner is ready, take the time to set the table, light some more candles and then sit down and enjoy every bite. No guilt. No deprivation. Just mindful, slow enjoyment of your meal.

So, which life would you prefer?

Check in with your brilliant body and notice which one your body prefers? Does one elicit a stressed, hurried panic feeling? Does another make you feel relaxed, content and joyful?

Living slow allows you to enjoy the process of living.

2 – When you go slow, you make less mistakes
As a nurse, there are times when you do not have the option to go slow. Things are happening, people are dying, and you must act…fast.

Not surprisingly, this is when a lot of medical errors are made.

Most often, when you are living at such a fast pace, your attention becomes scattered and careless mistakes are made.

When you eat fast, you overeat.

When you exercise fast, you injure yourself.

When you live fast, you sometimes lose your way.

Living slow allows you to be more attentive and intentional.

Ironically, living slow actually makes your more productive, allowing you to achieve far more than when you are going a million miles a minute.

3 – When you go slow, you stay connected
“I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks,” Lisa told me during our first session.


“Because, I have a big gala event in 2 weeks, and I want to look fabulous,” she replied.

Like Lisa, we’ve all been there, or at least I know I have – whether it be my weight, a man or money. I wanted it…last week.

But here’s what I have discovered about wanting things to happen fast: it most often requires that you disconnect from yourself to achieve it.

The body does not enjoy the deprivation and intensity that is required to lose weight fast.

The mind does not enjoy the stress and worry that goes into wanting things to happen now.

What the deepest part of us wants is for us to slow down long enough to stay connected to our truth before we sprint out of the gate chasing some illusion.

I’ve noticed that when I slow down and live intentionally, while also honoring my body, mind and spirit, things seem to happen almost effortlessly. The weight comes off naturally, the money flows in and the man did appear.

I did not need to sacrifice my own well-being to make it happen. I simply had to slow down long enough to hear my own wisdom.

In a society where we come out of the womb going fast, with weekly play dates, Baby Mozart sing-a-longs and at least several other activities to fill the day, it is often difficult to imagine a life that isn’t on speed.

However, slowing down is a choice that we all can make.

It requires that we slow down long enough to consider what is most important to us, and then slow, steadily and intentionally, move in the direction of our purpose.

Surprisingly, most often you’ll discover that the “hurry” is self-inflicted and not necessary.

The journey is much more enjoyable when you slow down long enough to take it all in.
And then, like magic, everything you ever wanted begins to manifest.

So, what’s your hurry?
Tonya Leigh Williams is a coach, speaker, and writer. She is also the founder of Just B Living, a company dedicated to empowering women to create amazing lives and bodies without dieting, deprivation and drama. If you want to learn more about how to lose weight from the inside out, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to the Just B E-zine, you can click here: Just B Living



It is fair to say that both sides of the how-much-should-we-do debate capitalize on — maybe exploit is a better word — a fundamental ambivalence in human nature. When people are under stress, most long to slow down. When things get slow, plenty of people get bored and long to be busy. Most are content and perhaps wise enough not to commit themselves to either camp. Take the case of Kristina, a yoga instructor. (All right, Kristina Marchitto, from Manhattan.) Ms. Marchitto is all for bliss, so much so that is she's building a business around producing yoga DVD's, which just happens to involve lots of real-world demands...

Ms. Marchitto said she had made her peace with the fact that she simply prefers the amped-up pace of life in Manhattan and life with a cellphone.

I am tired of the imposed rhythms of men,
Tethered time, restrained and trained
To a monotonous beat
Digital time blinking exactness

~Phillip Pulfrey, "Conjecture," Beyond Me

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

People are born and married, and live and die, in the
midst of an uproar so frantic that you would think
they would go mad of it.

~ William Dean Howells, 1907

For fast-acting relief from stress, try slowing down. ~ Lily Tomlin


Shadow Work and the Age of the Machine ? The Power of Slow

---------- Post added at 08:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:19 PM ----------

'Slow family' movement focuses on fewer outside activities -

"The kids wanted to play soccer, but we thought about the impact on our family life with everyone being on different teams," Noll said. "So we created family soccer, where one night a week we meet up with seven or eight other families and we all play, everyone playing together."


The flow of linear time is a psychological event. When you’re trying to make a deadline and you say to yourself, “I'm running out of time,” this internal dialogue speeds up your biological clock, as your heart beats faster and your body releases high levels of adrenalin and stress hormones...The practice of meditation can help you to shift from time-bound awareness to timeless awareness, which is characterized by happiness, self-acceptance, creativity, leaps of imagination synchronicities, and a sense of infinite possibilities.


Meditators, unlike “ordinary” sitters, sit in a state of mindful observation of what is, paying attention, encoding more experience and thus getting more life out of the same thirty seconds than the rest of us. The more experience you pack into a period of time, the longer the period of time feels when you look back at it. Mindfulness is, thus, timefulness...

Mindfulness is also timelessness...Timelessness isn’t when time stops. Timelessness is when you stop paying attention to time.
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“The Slow movement can get us back in touch with what it means to carry out scholarly work. Instead of “I am producing ...,” we might say to ourselves and others, “I am contemplating ...,” or “I am conversing with ...” or even “I am in joyful pursuit of ...”

“Ironically, our feelings of lack of productivity and not measuring up have not led us until now to “read” the institution; our self-blame has played into corporate values."

― Maggie Berg, The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy


Take it slow(er). The world tells us to rush things: “Get there faster. Make money quicker. Retire sooner.” And while these things aren’t necessarily bad, they can easily get us in over our heads. If you’re feeling burned out and overwhelmed, it’s time to slow down.

A few ways to take yourself out of 24/7 high gear:
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day in a quiet place, away from distractions. Breathe.
  • Put together a playlist of slow, relaxing music. Listen to it whenever you start feeling frazzled.
  • Take a butcher knife to your to-do list. Set a limit to the number of tasks you take on each day and stick to it.
  • Extend your deadlines. Do you absolutely, positively have to get this done now? Just remember – this isn’t an excuse to procrastinate.

“Rushing had become so much of a habit that I was amazed at the amount of concentration it took to work slowly on purpose.”

“The paradox of slowness is that you will find you accomplish the task more quickly and with less effort because you are not wasting energy. Try it and you will see.”

― Thomas M. Sterner, The Practicing Mind


My dear friend Doug told me a great way he is trying to live right now. He said, “stay in the right lane.” I love that. We often want to get somewhere fast, so we pull into the left lane and zoom past everything to get to the destination.

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