It’s what these last few days of the year hopefully are – slow and simple. Languorous, lazy, light.
It’s Thursday as I write this but it could be a Wednesday or Friday or another day wedged between Christmas and New Year, when the ham is getting close to the bone but there is still enough for sandwiches (if you can be bothered going to the shop for bread, because you’re sick of ham already).
For someone who preaches reYINvention – softening, slowing, simplifying etc my desire to fill these days with some sort of productivity – writing, reflection, heck I’ll take productive reading, seems incongruous.
These hazy, lazy days of Summer should be about wasting time – yet time feels so light and precious right now that I can’t bear for it to slip through my fingers.
(This was our Brunswick Heads ‘pause’, already a month ago).
I want to maximise the inspiration of reading, the relaxation of time with friends, and the reflection that seems only right and good as another year slips away.
I’m caught between slow and simple in my writing (by this I mean I’ve almost finished the ‘slower’ section of my reYINvention course/book/we’ll just wait and see! and have started the ‘simpler’ section). Of course slow and simple could equally describe my writing!
I realise that slow and simple go together like turkey and cranberry sauce so they make ideal companion topics to mull over in the festive season (and simple means much less conspicuous consumption at the Boxing Day sales, which can only be good).
And I certainly realise the irony of being creatively stuck in the midst of slow and simple at this time, or any time – how can I advocate slower and then seek to rush the writing (which is a learn-as-I-go process?!)
So the writing will happen, in its own sweet time (and between interruptions every ten minutes or so, even after taking the kids to the beach and lunch with friends this morning and then begging for some space this afternoon).
In the meantime I offer you some festive presence (ha, ha, no presents), gleaned from some points I’ve explored so far – questions and ideas for you to ponder.
I hope they help you reflect on how slower and simpler may be part of your plans for a very happy and fulfilled 2017.
- Don’t live a two-speed life – fast and stop (or worse, dead stop). Yes, it’s great to stop and flop over summer but slowing down is so much more (or much less of a lot of things, most of the time actually).
- Do you care enough about what you are doing to do it more slowly? If you don’t then why are you rushing something that’s not worth doing anyway, making it even less worthwhile? If you do care, then why are you rushing at all?
- Can you be more concerned with the how and WHY, than the when?
- Slow has two great characteristics – quality, as in careful attention to maximise your tax refund, and enjoyment, as in savouring the very last mouthful. Some slower things (meticulously doing your taxes) offer quality, others are best enjoyed slowly (think food, sex). The best slow things offer both quality and enjoyment, so you never mind taking your time.
- Marinate on a problem, allowing it to soften. Revel in joy, letting it luxuriate.
- Taking time to unwind unlocks your reserves of joy – relaxation not only feels good in the present and frees you from the worries of the future, it hands the happiness of the past back to you to savour again and again.
- Practise getting comfortable with calm when you are relaxed and when things are just ‘normal’ so that you can be calm under pressure (or if you can’t relax for it’s own enjoyable sake, think of the productivity and clarity benefits of the calm you can call upon when you’re busy).
- Unhurried people arrive on time, or generally early.
- What if life was meant to be easy, not all the time but as the default position? What is ease but an attitude of acceptance rather than resistance, and the gift of grace bestowed on the grateful?
- Travel like the journey is the destination. Get lost like it is the whole point.
- Allow words to marinate in your mind and tenderise on your tongue, instead of flying out your mouth as undercooked meat.
- Time is never something you can have too much of – provided you always feel that what you have is enough.
- It’s all in the combo of slow and simple, meaningful and necessary (read my 20% theory to overcome stress)
- Cultivate eustress
- Ultimately the complex must be made simple with clarity
- Simplicity is the ‘perfect; combination of less and pure – only don’t expect purity to be perfect, just essential
- Simplicity is space, silence and ultimately stillness
- Joy wells in the essence of things
- Humility is a special kind of simplicity
- Eat your heart out Marie Kondo!
Wishing you a wonderful 2017. See you back here refreshed and ready to reYINvent.