Time to Slow Down

Dear New School Friends:

No doubt you have noticed the world is in disarray.

No doubt COVID has affected your life.
No doubt the signs of war and climate change and political strife weigh upon you.

Tonight, as I reflected on what i might say to you, an inner voice came to me with this counsel—for me as well as for you.

That counsel was: slow down.

It may seem strange to offer such counsel in a world where most people are in a constant rush. I am as immeshed in unrelenting demands as any of you are.

Yet this voice is saying to me—this is perhaps the greatest wisdom that you and others need right now. Simply put: slow down.

If we put our minds to it—put our hearts into it—I actually believe we can slow down. It’s mostly asking ourselves what is essential and what could be let go or at least left for a later time.

I notice is that if I make sure to take my two walks each day, if I prepare and eat my meals
slowly, if I take time to meditate, I simply don’t have as much time to rush.

I know that for some, rushing through your day seems like the only option. You have demanding work, children or parents to care for, and all the rest. Perhaps you don’t have the choice to slow down. I get it.

I know that for others, COVID, or retirement, or the great resignation, has slowed you down greatly already—whether you welcome it or not.

Still others—many living in vans or school buses or at the other end of the spectrum not needing to work—a slow life is what you do already.

Yet many of  us, me included, still rush through these precious and irreplaceable days of our lives.

I am struck by how much of a rush Americans are in, while many people in other cultures have built slowing down into the fabric of their lives. Think of Italy, of Spain.

Someone said, “email is someone else’s to do list for you.” Interesting thought.

I am setting an intention to see if I can slow down. I welcome company.
I’m not taking an oath or setting a New Year’s Resolution. I approach this with a sense of curiosity.

What happens if i seek to slow down? What do I say no to? What do I say yes to?

This old man is starting an experiment. I’ll let you know how it goes.

My friend Christina Baldwin has a beautiful saying: “move at the pace of guidance.” It’s one of her seven whispers in her book by that name: The Seven Whispers: Listening to the Voice of the Spirit. Christina’s meditation uses seven phrases :

  • Maintain peace of mind,
  • Move at the pace of guidance,
  • Practice certainty of purpose,
  • Surrender to surprises,
  • Ask for what you need and offer what you can,
  • Love the folks in front of you,
  • Return to the world.

I like all seven. I will start with move at the pace of guidance. I hope guidance will show me where, when and how i can do this one thing: slow down.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Let me know how it goes for you.

Love and prayers,