Erica Wheeler: inspiring connections between people and place

July 2013/ Slowing Down to the Speed of Summer

July 2013 Slowing Down to the Speed of Summer

Nova Scotia, 1977 or 1978

Summer can seem to fly by sometimes if we don’t make a point of taking time to do things that feel really “summer like.” Don’t you agree?

Last month I participated in an event called the “Slow Living Summit.” This comes out of the “Slow Food” movement, which started in Italy, as a response to fast food chains trying to open up franchises there.  Slow Food is all about taking the time to use local food embrace, local culture and savor life.

“Slow Living” is a wider embrace of this idea of slowing down to a pace of life that has more depth and meaning to us, that is more innate than the pace we sometimes expect of ourselves. As things seem to speed up in our world, from the work we need to get done to the next short or long-term crises, learning the timeworn skills of slowing down can come in very handy.

My main take-away from this wonderful event was that it’s useful to learn how to speed up how we slow down. What I mean by this is developing some practices or habits that slow you down.  

The trick is being able to access whatever feels like slowing down to you, rather quickly.

It’s sort of like that “zone” you can get into on day three of your vacation. It’s about finding that place inside you, even if you don’t have the time or money for a three-day vacation.  My strategy is to figure out little mini vacations, even grabbing a minute here or there.

In May when I was working at Yosemite (okay, don’t feel too sorry for me), I took a short Plein Air painting class. It had been so long since I’ve done something like that! Sitting there painting the mountains made me really slow down. I can still see the beautiful light, the river, and the granite, every curve and nuance etched in my memory.  And I have an okay, first try painting as a souvenir. I love that it helped me slow down long enough to REALLY SEE.

TRY THIS
Invest in making lists of what it means to you to really relish the season this year.

Here’s my summer list:
Spend some quiet time sitting outside daydreaming
Make wildflower bouquets
Experience an outdoor concert
Go on an artist’s open house tour
Take one creativity class or retreat
Pick wild blackberries

Here’s my want to do list (Things I rarely take the time to do, but want to!)
Ride horses
Watercolor
Make beaded necklaces
Plan a hike that I’ve never gone on before, and go
Swim in a lake

To learn more about the Slow Living Summit and watch some of the sessions, click here http://www.slowlivingsummit.org/

Here’s short article that is a nice review of the summit http://www.axiomnews.ca/node/3666

What’s on your list? I’d love to hear your ideas.  Share them below!

updated: 1 year ago

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