Slow down and
everything you are chasing
will come around and catch you.
John De Paola
think my work has to do with a sense that we are attempting,
all the time, to create a logical, rational path through the day.
To the left and right there are an amazing set of distractions
that we usually can't afford to follow. But the poet is willing to
stop anywhere. . . . And it's that willingness to slow down and
examine the mysterious bits of fluff in our lives that
is the poet's interest.
you're having difficulty coming up with new ideas, then
slow down. For me, slowing down has been a tremendous source of
has allowed me to open up--to know that there's life
under the earth
and that I have to let it come through me in a new way.
in the present moment. You can't find it anywhere else.
remember to slow down in life; live, breathe,
and learn; take a look around you whenever you have
time and never forget everything and every person
that has the least place within your heart.
taking the time away, getting myself off the treadmill,
and just slowing
down and learning, I felt I had so much more to give back.
And maybe that
was something that needed to happen for all of us.
down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by
too fast--you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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is important from time to time to slow down,
to go away by yourself, and simply be.
Some of the
secret joys of
living are not found by
rushing from point A
to point B, but by
inventing some imaginary
letters along the way.
These Are the Gifts
I'd Like to Give to You
fast-acting relief, try slowing down.
|And so taking
the long way home through the market I slow my pace
down. It doesn't come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot
briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force
myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just
being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere.
Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths.
take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the
The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather
When was the last time you stopped to listen to the
wind blow through the
trees? Or stopped to listen to a river as it flowed past you, or the
and frogs and other living things as they make their music? When was
the last time you listened--truly listened--to a favorite song,
attention to the lyrics, the drums, the rhythm, the guitars or
more to life than increasing its speed.
Half our life is spent trying to find
something to do with the time we have rushed through life
trying to save.
only here for a short visit. Donít hurry, donít worry.
And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.
run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've
been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race,
but a journey to be savored each step of the
slower-paced life means making time to enjoy your mornings, instead
rushing off to work in a frenzy. It means taking time to enjoy
youíre doing, to appreciate the outdoors, to actually focus on
youíre talking to or spending time with ó instead of always
connected to a Blackberry or iPhone or laptop, instead of always
thinking about work tasks and emails. It means single-tasking rather
than switching between a multitude of tasks and focusing on none
of them. Slowing down is a conscious choice, and not always
an easy one, but it leads to a greater appreciation for life
and a greater level of happiness.
slowing down and relishing the unfolding of every experience, you
arenít choosing to be less accomplished or productive than others.
Youíre choosing to be accomplished and productive in ways they may
not even understand. Youíre choosing to change whatís within
own heart and mind, thereby becoming a part of the solution rather
than a part of the problem. By no longer rushing through,
to stop focusing so much of your energy on the wanting and yearning,
the wishing it was done, the frustration with what hasnít happened
to make, instead, the most of every experience as it unfolds at its
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|Rushing around from one activity to another, focusing
on getting things done,
we tend to place all our priorities on accomplishing tasks on our
lists Ė doing
routine housework; preparing meals and eating; commuting to work;
things done at work; putting in time at the gym; driving our kids to
games, swimming lessons, and birthday parties; staying in touch with
taking the dog to the groomer; and so on. Are you tired yet? In the
it all, we become slaves to our to-do lists and become doers
instead of be-ers.
We give ourselves little or no time feel, to more fully
experience much of our
lives. We forget that our capacity to feel is the very essence of
Without feeling, we become zombies or robots, and after a while we
with a vague sense that our lives are unfulfilled, empty,
lacking purpose, and devoid of anything resembling vitality.
life had become an endless race against the clock. I was always in a
scrambling to save a minute here, a few seconds there. My wake-up
when I found myself toying with the idea of buying a collection of
Bedtime Stories Snow White in 60 seconds. Suddenly it hit me:
has got so out of hand that Iím even willing to speed up those
with my children at the end of the day. There has to be a better
thought, because living in fast forward is not really living at all.
Thatís why I began investigating the possibility of slowing down.
stood still, paralyzed by the beauty and the magic of this
moment. Everything stopped, even my breath. Like a sloth, I
didnít want to move. There was nowhere else I needed or
wanted to be. Standing there absorbing the beauty of this
place, I stepped out of time. In this timeless moment, I saw
and felt the unity of all things. There it was all around
me: the chaos of the natural world, silently woven into a
tapestry of exquisite, perfect order. I felt at one with the
trees, rocks, plants, birds, insects, squirrels, leaves, and
water. A witness to this sacred scene, I felt humbled and
blessed to be given this moment.
So, this is what the slow lane is about, I
realized. Sipping and savoring tiny moments, stopping the
clock and slipping out of time, feeling my own heart begin
to synchronize with the rhythms of nature and being in the
presence of the sacred. Not bad learning for a single visit.
I can see possibilities here.
And then, the moment ended and time began
again. Reluctantly, I headed back to ďcivilizationĒ. I
could hear the ever-present music of the freeway in the
distance. Back to business as usual, the world full of cars,
trucks and the people inside them; barreling towards their
destinies at speeds too fast to notice life.
We live in a tense, hard-driving generation,
thinking we just
have to get there in a
hurry. Why, I'll never know. And
wonderful what a little slowing down can
We don't need a horse-drawn carriage to slow the
are other ways. The trick is
to break our rhythm. One way
might be to
try walking to Grandma's house with the family,
instead of taking the car. Or try making a
real homemade cake,
instead of using a
"mix." We might take time to go
family photo album slowly, reliving
the pleasant moments; or
take the long way to
the store one day, stopping at points of
interest, looking for things we never
particularly noticed before.
Breaking the pattern of rush, rush, rush can
restore our bodies
and our minds and can bring
an oasis of healing
calm in the midst of stress.
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|The average American sees just about as much of real life, of the things worth while, as
we see of the beautiful scenery through which we pass, driving
our cars at high speeds. Of course now and then we
divert our eyes long enough to get a hasty glimpse of a mountain peak or a beautiful valley or a gorgeous sunset, but the beautiful scenery, the details of the glorious flowers, are all lost upon
All the wonderful details of little experiences, the fine courtesies, the exquisite things of life, the things that are worth while, are lost to us because we live at such a terrific pace.
We cannot take time to see things, to appreciate them, to enjoy them.
We do not take time to enjoy our friends. Our whole mind is anxiously focused upon the machine and the road in front of us.
We are like the men who carried the mails on the pony express.
We are borne along at a terrific speed, and we only dismount to mount again.
And so we go tearing through life forever changing from a tired to a fresh pony.
Bent forms, premature gray hair, heavy steps, and feverish haste are indicative of American life. Restlessness and discontent have become chronic, and are characteristic of our age and nation.
This straining, struggling, and striving is not life; it is a fever, a disease, well named
Americanitis. It bears no relation to happiness.
The Joys of Living (1913)