7 Fast Ways to Slow Down Your Pace This Summer

Engaging in the power of slow, says author Christine Hohlbaum, will unleash the energy to arrive at what’s truly important — while keeping the “white noise” of distraction at bay

If you’ve ever tried filling a tablespoon with water flowing quickly from the tap, you know that fast is not always better. Sometimes turning the water down a notch is actually more productive. The same goes for summer — a great time of year to engage in a slower pace of life. Slow living does not mean you always crawl at a turtle’s pace (although we all know who won Aesop’s race in the end). Finding your custom-made speed can trigger a happier, more gratifying life as you pause to savor your experiences more fully. Flip through the slideshow below to learn how…

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3 comments so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Hi Christine . . . I have missed you!

    I think of you, knowing you ascribe to the “power of slow” in life — and, as often a quotation will move me, today’s is by Walter Hagen, who has said so wisely: “Your’re only here for a short visit.  Don’t hurry.  Don’t worry.  And be sure to smell the flowers along the way”. 

    We often forget to do this in the rush of life.  But with the intense heat that this summer has brought, we find ourselves having to take a slower pace.  Perhaps, this doesn’t work this way with everyone, but – if anything – it has made my mind more active.  But instead of running, being on the road, I have used the phone to get my answers.  What a Godsend!  I have a Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style building that is gorgeous, newly redesigned on the outside, with a wealth of prairie style grasses and adjoining an wetlands that is lovely. 

    I was” juggling” for the interior, trying to do too many things at once.  But the heat just slowed me down.  I wanted to “bring the outside in”, especially in the large glass cantilevered Wright windows that were his signature here.  “Running myself ragged” stopped having its appeal in 100 degree heat.  And so, after a single phone call, I am excited to have a Wright-oriented interior designer who is grabbing my own idea and running with it, using the beauty of the world we have planted without in, with  the extension of artificial grasses and more inside, making the interior its own drawing card through the unusual windows. 

    What has it all done (besides making my own spirits rise over the idea?)  I have knocked hours, perhaps days off my own work.  The photos above — the hammock, the idea of finally enjoying the pile of books that has mounted since winter, lets me balance the pace and slow it.

    We all have our own choices.  I want to avoid summer travel, preferring the slower pace and fewer people of spring and fall.  But it allows me to gather travel guides around me.  Truly, often the joys of travel lie in the anticipation alone.  A carrot dangling, promises still to be kept at a cooler, more leisurely time.  Most of us have money issues that may hold us back on the largest journeys we might like to take this Fall.  Switching gears this year, small “getaways” serve their purpose well.  If we are really honest, what we all need at times is a change of scene that relfects your “power of slow” to make us revive and feel whole again. 

    My own choice – Carmel and the nature around it – has always had that magical quality I have found nowhere else quite near.  I believe I can use the word “serenity” – and I notice I use hushed tones when I say it — for I have found a short stay in its environs better than any medicine there could be.  Times slows, the waves mesmerize, the sunset dips into the ocean each night, promising the slow pace, the renewed spirits as another day dawns.  Soon I am ready once again to take on the world.

    Could life be better?

  2. avatar Bella Mia says:

    I’ve been working with horses for the past few weeks, volunteering at a thoroughbred rescue facility, I feel like a school girl again. And there is no hurry to finish the chores, spreading the fresh saw dust, refilling water buckets, and grooming appreciative beasts that seem genuinely interested and curious about me. Horses have no agenda other than food and play and relationships. And the rhythm of this lifestyle is so soothing, so comforting, so encompassing. I feel a bliss moment coming on even as I think about it.

    I was wandering through a store getting ideas for a project, and realized, “I am the opposite of ‘high powered.’” And I wondered, “Can I make a real contribution to society being ‘slow powered?’” In Hasim Talib’s best seller – The Black Swan, he discusses the idea of being a flaneur – meaning, stroller, lounger, saunterer. He talks about long, pensive walks as a vehicle of meditation leading to a synthesis of concepts to form whole ideas. This slowness and pensiveness are the great percolators of modern life.

    I find that I cannot be in hurly-burly mode and feel any creative impulses. Instead, i feel creatively numb. I worry about my daughter who has a very adventurous, fearless, ‘high-powered’ two-year old, hooked on the idea of self-differentiation, ie. telling mommy, “no.” And so dear daughter runs from one crisis to the next, doing her best to contain the mayhem – her precious downtime naturally consumed by overwhelming fatigue. So when she had the change to be the horse-wrangler on a trek (a role playing pioneer-style adventure) she asked for help – and we drove from NJ to Texas – to tame the toddler – and help her move while she was on the trek. (their rent was raised at the most inopportune time.)

    She had a magnificent experience, and was able to relax and visit with people and not worry (too much) about what was happening at home. I knew it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to sloooow waaaaay dooown. So nice. Slow is good.

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Bella Mia — I remember all the children between age 2 and 3, often feeling like I was ALL DONE and wondering if this was “forever”.  But for most kids, it is the normal stage of that time in life, and it does drive the mommy wild.  What a great change of scene you have given her — something that will always be remembered and so good for her.  And, as of you, your volunteer work must give you that warm feeling within — you can actaully see what good you have done but there is something about animals anyhow that make us feel we are helping.

      Unlike you though, with the exception of vacation — always spent in the wilds where communing with nature makes a slow walk observing like a piece of happiness happening — I actually like to be on a run, finding that I need high challenges to my mind to lift me high.  So far I have been able to balance life off — with a couple of exceptions that we all might have wehn health problems of someone intervened and made it emotional and hard – and enjoy life to the fullest.  But each of us are different — and I love that thought and I gain from each person in my path.

      Sometimes, slow though is VERY good!!!  What a wonderful mother you have been.

      Joan