When Phillip and I made a conscious decision to pursue a “slow life” together, we were led by others who have made the same decision to ground their choices and days in deliberate and focused sustainability and community connections.
For us, a slow life is guided by a philosophical stance which believes that the spirit is deeply and truly fed only by intimate communion. To put it another way: living, relating, and buying locally allows us to be more fully present both to ourselves and to those who contribute to our well-being, as we contribute to theirs. This is not to promote an isolationist orientation or a denial of global connection and need, but to lessen the exhaustion and depletion of finite resources, to become mindful about right relationship with our neighbors, to redefine what constitutes “healthy living,” and to be earnest in clarifying the difference between desire and need.
Far from feeling rigidly controlled, we’ve learned pursuing a slow life is exciting, creative, spacious, and fun.
Savoring, noticing, attending, reflecting, listening, and being present are all practices that feed a slow life, and all are nourished by gratitude and balance. We commit to simplify in order to go deeper, and to more authentically value the common ground and the unique distinctions that define our days, relationships, seasons, community, and spirits. We deliberately honor the gifts that all of these create and offer for our enrichment.
Pierre Teilhard famously stated we’re spiritual beings having a physical, human experience. While we’re here on earth, this means our basic necessities of food, home, and clothing must be satisfied if our spirits are to thrive and evolve. It seems, though, that we’ve lost the connection between the pursuit of our basic needs and our spiritual health, as though spirit doesn’t enter into our choices and consciousness until not just our basic needs, but all of our (manufactured) desires, are met. Focused solely on the crazed pursuit of “more,” we have become disconnected from Source and source: we do not know where we, our food, our homes, and our clothing come from, nor at what cost to the earth and our neighbors. We do not relax and breathe unless we’re “on vacation,” when a lot of us routinely become ill from the anxiety, over-work, and imbalanced living we’ve consented to endure, often unconsciously.
Slow living recognizes that spirit is (always) our essence, that the pursuit of basic necessities can be/is naturally spirit-fueled and intentional, and that the satisfaction of these needs can be creative, communal, and enough. A slow life is a consciously inspirited life.
Homes can be green, energy use sustainable, clothing recycled, and food joyfully grown, locally procured, and communally shared. Our gifts and art can be recognized, encouraged, and shared in the production of the goods that meet our needs. We can “make a living” that is peace-filled and care-filled, and our businesses and interactions can be collaborative circles of collegiality rather than competitive, top-down hierarchies.
Small steps, in time, create new paths.
Grow a garden; join a CSA; shop at farmers’ markets. Seek and support restaurants like this: http://www.braiselocalfood.com and programs like this: http://wisconsinfoodie.com/
Make use of resale shops. Cull outgrown, unworn, disused, and unneeded possessions; recycle, reuse, and re-purpose creatively. Know where your material possessions are made and by whom; understand the dis-eased world you’re either perpetuating or choosing to change: http://video.pbs.org/video/1488092077/.
Live green: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes.aspx
Heal whenever, whatever, wherever you can, starting with yourself and your choices.
A slow life offers continual invitations and opportunities to recall and connect with who we— truly—are: shards of a holy and ongoing Creative Impulse, interdependent and aware that our only home is Love.
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