Well, last week was all very hectic.
The weekend before I had spent in London, we had gone down to see “Monkey: Journey to the West”.
London really is the antithesis a Cittaslow (a Cittaslow is a Slow Town or City), it is all hustle and bustle, rush and non-stop, crowded and selfish. Everyone looks through you.
After about 5 minutes in that place I can find myself getting all agitated! I can see why people act like zombies, it’s defence mechanism, they cannot cope with the speed and the pace of the place.
So, what can you do? Can you be Slow in a fast environment?
Well, remember Slow isn’t actually about being slow, as in crawling around and being dim witted. Slow is a first and foremost a mindset, a philosophy, an attitude. This then leads to a method of slowing your life down and practical ways to do that (which is often unique to the individual, even though many of the principles are the same…).
So, as long as you have the mindset in place you can be Slow pretty much anywhere. Almost. No one is perfect (I admit to a minor rant whilst driving the day – it’s cathartic alright?!).
The mindset can be defined as being mindful (paying attention), unflustered and unhurried, centred.
I am going to focus, on this post on being centred. As I think it really is the key to managing your “slowness” when all around you in speeding along.
It is something that I have learned through martial arts and meditations. Particularly the Taoist style. Itr is used a lot in Tai Chi (the slowest martial art of them all…!).
It is very easy to do and practice, and will improve your state of mind, focus and posture.
So, what you do is this: You centre. Easy huh? How do you find your centre? It is 2 finger widths below and in from your belly button. Get two fingers of one of your hands and hold them width wise below your belly button, take one finger from your other hand and press gently. That is your centre.
If you focus on it, breath from it (imagine your nose is at that point if it helps – breathing is very important, so I will come back to that in a later post) and move from it, you will find that you will be less flustered by the rush going on outside (and inside your head too – it slows down those anxious “what if?” panicky thoughts…)
For best results. Aim to make all your moves and thoughts from this point. Start simply by focusing on it whenever you can, after a while you will just start to naturally work form there as a starting point. Then, when you find yourself getting flustered you can just gently move your attention there…
Incidentally, the new slowplanet.com is up and is an excellent place to mean other slow-minded people and learn more about Slow in all it’s forms(I have no affiliation!)