1 Take your time, go slow

Go slow, take your time
If you want your dream to be
Build it slowly and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free
Take your time, go slowly.
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.*

The first doodle Go slow, take your time echoes the sentiment of Donovan Leitch’s Little Church, in turn echoing words attributed to St Francis of Assisi.

Nothing lasting or worthwhile can be grown quickly, yet “Quickly” is often where we find ourselves.

Beneath the surface of our lives, however, the person we’re becoming over a lifetime is growing more slowly.  

Our deepest calling is to grow into our authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.**

The quality of our attention to what is happening here determines just how we’ll grow: that we will grow is our nature; how we will grow is our nurture.

Slowing down to notice more of our uniqueness makes it possible to understand how we do not exist in some fixed state.  At this slow level of our lives, things are more plastic, we have more choice: adjacent possibilities out from our talents, values and energies. 

When we do find ourselves feeling fixed or stuck, it’s more likely the result of limiting the number of environments in which we can grow: a problem often created by speed.

I am appreciating slowness more than ever.  I read slowly.  I enjoy slow conversations.   I prefer pen and ink and paper.  I walk, sometimes very slowly.

When I find myself mindlessly rushing some task or action, I try to slow down and turn my attention more to the intricacies of what I’m doing – sometimes it even works!

Slow isn’t where I spend all my time, but living slower moments has a helpful impact on me, and I hope on others.

Slowness is where we begin.  When we are slow, we notice more; when we notice more, we are better resourced; when we are better resourced, we are more effective.

*Donovan Leitch‘s Little Church, quoted in the Northumbria Community’s Morning Prayer;
**Parker Palmer, quoted in Ian Morgan Cron’s The Road Back to You.

SOMETHING TO DO: Towards this, find your own slowness, being playful whilst exploring breathing, looking, listening, touching and smelling more slowly.  

You may wish to try John Cage’s concept of 4’ 33” by setting a timer for that amount of time and simply listening, or watching, or breathing deeply and slowly in a slow place you’ve found.  

Then create your own doodle to express slowness using a phrase that comes to you or a slowness quote that you love.

The Wander Society by Keri Smith
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Genius in All of Us by David Shenk


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