My word for 2023 is SLOW! Which is kind of odd, because I like to drive fast. Ha!
I chose slow because it feels like the natural next step after last year’s word – Presence – where I discovered that presence is simply paying attention. The thing is though, I cannot pay attention if I don’t slow down and perhaps even stop from time to time; life is going by at warp speed, and I want to see if I can put on the brakes a little. My choice was reinforced towards the end of last year when my physio guy kept telling me to slow down with my weight lifting exercises for my shoulder, the point was not simply to get things done, but to be effective in what I was doing. If I am going fast, I am not paying attention to the signs my body gives me and I am likely to re-injure myself. Nice confirmation and metaphor for what I’d like to focus on this year!
The problem is these days everything is hustle this and efficiency that and burnout the other thing. Balance seems to be lacking. I know I feel guilty when I rest or take my time to do things I know I could do quickly. So many subtleties at play there that I want to poke a bit this year!
I was about seven or eight or so when I started to learn guitar as part of the school curriculum. A room full of kids on wonky school-issue instruments that were more likely than not out of tune… strum … strum … strum … the poor teacher struggling to keep us in time let alone getting chord changes right. Ahhhhh … at least it wasn’t a recorder! Anyway, one of the early songs we learned was Feelin’ Groovy; here’s Simon and Garfunkel doing it late in their career just in case you have forgotten how it goes .
The very first words of the song are Slow down you move too fast, you’ve gotta make the morning last! It all sounds a bit hippy dippy these days, doesn’t it? It was written in the mid 60s after all. But it fits. Perhaps this could be my theme song, it is certainly an ear-worm for me while I am writing this. Such a happy song!
I think there’s probably a paradox that needs to be explored with this slow stuff, because I noticed something odd. When you are bored silly time seems to stretch and slow down, but when you are having fun time seems to fly by. Does that mean I have to make everything miserable in order to go slow? If that’s the case it’s going to be a looooong year! Unsurprisingly both can be true; exploring slow living does not mean that things won’t be fast ever again. Our perception of time is an interesting thing, but it’s not really what I am looking to explore. I want to dig into the value of living life at a slower pace and see what that looks like in practice.
As this quote points out, sometimes we all need some slow times to balance out the frenetic times.
If a plant gets nothing but sunlight, it’s very harmful. It has to have darkness too. In the sunlight, it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, but in the darkness, it takes the oxygen and converts it back into carbon dioxide. People are like that too. We have to have some periods of doing and some periods of non-doing – Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Do you have a word or phrase for the year? Or are you a resolutions person?
Top photo by Morgane Le Breton on Unsplash (if you’re reading this in RSS or email, you won’t see the top image)