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Karen Porter Sorensen: for the Love of all Things Slow: Reflections on a Too Fast World

January 6th, 2010, 04:01 am admin Leave a comment Go to comments

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It’s 2010, already. Unbelievable isn’t it – how quickly time passes? I’m taking time to reflect on the previous year and thinking of resolutions for the new one. I live in New York, one of the most hectic, fastest-moving cities in the world. I love the city and chose to move here, but lately I have been feeling the urge to just ’slow down.’ Everything is always moving in fast-motion guided by the notion that time= money. At my job, my co-workers are always multi-tasking and rushing to cram into a single day what realistically should be done in a week. My friends are always making plans, on top of plans in the fruitless effort to have more fun. Personally I always feel in a rush: I eat fast, think fast, talk fast and walk fast. Perhaps I am just worn out and need a radical lifestyle change. Maybe after nine years, it is finally time for me to throw in the towel and leave NYC to move to the country.

If I had it my way, tomorrow I would not wake up at the crack of dawn to travel to work on the packed subway car at rush hour. I would unplug to move at my own speed letting my inner rhythm guide me throughout the day. Well, at this moment living in a cottage in a remote village in Ireland is still just a dream but here are some thoughts on ways to slow down.

When I told my friend about my goal to slow down, she said that there is a book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed, by Carl Honore who offers some inspiring examples of a growing worldwide ’slow’ movement.

“It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.”

Honore, who lives in London, said last spring the city held the first Slow Down London Festival where the city’s residents were offered a rare opportunity to take a break from their rushed lifestyles. Personally I would love for the Festival to come to NYC. Are there are other New Yorkers out there who feel the way I do and want to slow down the pace of your lives just a little? If you’re like me and wishing to lower your life’s speed limit, here are some thoughts for inspiration. First a list of things to observe when you need inspiration, and second a list of activities to follow that will help you reset your daily metronome.

Slow things to observe for inspiration:

  • Clouds floating
  • Plants growing
  • A seed starting
  • Syrup pouring
  • Honey squeezed
  • Sailboats without wind
  • Snails
  • Sloths
  • Worms
  • Herons
  • Small children walking
  • Old women sewing
  • Pregnant women
  • Ice cream trucks
  • Kiddy Carnival rides
  • Noh performances
  • Isicles dripping
  • Candles burning
  • The tide coming in
  • Snow falling

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Slow down activities:

  • Slow-dance
  • Walk through snow
  • Row boats
  • Listen to someone you love
  • Eat pomegranates
  • Ride the bus
  • Travel by hot air balloon
  • Talk to people with southern accents
  • Make wine
  • Hand-sew
  • Bake bread
  • Walk home
  • Make sun tea
  • Bake a cake
  • Hand-make clothing
  • Visit cemeteries
  • Wait in lines
  • Soak in the bathtub
  • Pick berries
  • Bird-watching
  • Paint portraits
  • Ride Ferris wheels
  • Watch Tarkovsky films
  • Save money
  • Sip hot tea
  • Make snow angels
  • Walk in the woods
  • Ride Gondolas
  • Slow-kiss


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