January 12, 2014
About this time last year, I was on a plane on the way to visit one of my oldest friends in Austin, TX. I’d been forbidden from using my iPhone and had to shut it off in the middle of a Cee Lo song (click the link then tell me if I’m the only one who thinks that performance is weirdly awesome? Gwyneth Paltrow *and* Muppets!). So I started reading Spirit Magazine (yes, I’m one of those people). I came across an article by David Hochman about his family’s decision to take a month to embrace slow living – including slow eating.
At the time, the article really struck me because this was really something I believed in but needed to put into practice more. A year later, it’s still a work in progress, but I think I’m starting to have a clearer vision of the life I’m creating and how it will allow for slow living.
I am a huge fan of the Slow Food movement and I think I do a pretty decent job of eating mindfully, enjoying my meals and taking the time to cook. Although I don’t always do that. Especially lately, I’ve found it more challenging to cook good meals with my busy schedule.
I earned my M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, a Buddhism-inspired school in Boulder, Colorado. Meditation and meaningful conversation were really emphasized there and the school’s philosophy deeply impacted me. Yet I’m still sucked into our fast-fast-fast culture more than I’d like to be. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, when my husband and I went to Alaska for our honeymoon over the summer, I had a moment of anxiety when I found out that the main lodge has Internet access but not the guest cabins, and cell reception is spotty. That means I had to –gasp – leave the room to check Facebook! You know how it is, I can’t miss the latest antics of the Grumpy Cat. The reality, of course, is that I shouldn’t even have been checking Facebook at all on my honeymoon. So…that was a little bit of a wake-up call for me.
For me, food is maybe the simplest and most fun way to ease myself into slow living. As much as I enjoy preparing and eating meals prepared with lots of love and great ingredients – there are times when I find myself consuming way too many pancakes and plates of spaghetti. Fixing delicious meals is an excellent and gentle way of slowing down the pace of my life. It’s also a great way to enjoy that slower pace with others, since cooking and eating really lend themselves well to being communal activities.
I sometimes feel guilty about all the time I spend on Facebook or just generally languishing in the seductive glow of my MacBook. And I’m convinced I’m going to wreck my eyes as a result of the hours I’ve logged staring at my iPhone screen. But feeling guilty isn’t good because then slowing down just becomes one more thing on the to-do list. I know…irony! So if you want to slow your life down, don’t force it. It’s not about that. It’s really just about giving yourself permission to do all those things you really want to do but don’t think you have the time for, like spending quality time with friends and family and cooking wonderful meals. Or even allowing yourself to do nothing at all. I know it seems like there truly aren’t enough hours in the day to slow down, but I really think it’s just a matter of priorities. Of course, it all comes down the fact that we deserve to truly experience our lives – and we can’t do that if we’re always thinking about twenty silly things and not allowing ourselves to be fully present for the important ones.