Regardless of financial status, many people claim to be "time poor." They regularly report not having enough time. To combat this "time poverty" there are some people promoting a "Slow Movement." The core of this endeavor is based on reconnecting with life. People are searching for connections, connections to people, places, and things important to them. The need to be part of something bigger than self, to be connected to all that it means to live, is at the heart of a living a connected life.
Throughout history, lives were interconnected, and in many traditional cultures, they still are. At one time, extended families were common out of necessity and tradition. This developed a generational connectedness. As culture changed, the need to stay as an extended family unit was no longer a necessity. People left home for work or marriage, and created separate lives away from their families.
Lifestyles began to speed up as advances in living made travel and communication more accessible to everyone. The accelerated pace people choose to live, has weakened many deeper connections. Technological advances have also changed how and where people work. In this society, it is possible to be around people, while never making a meaningful connection. In many cities, this is the norm. People shuffle from place to place while never acknowledging the presence of the other. Living fast, creates isolated existences, in areas once shared by family and community.
While technological advances have saved people hours in their day, many use this time to become even busier, and more isolated instead of using it to enrich and enjoy connections in life. People are becoming task-driven instead of relationship driven. It is this ability to stay in fast-forward motion, which leads to overscheduling, stress, and rushing towards the next task. This task-focused rushing, affects all areas of life from eating, family time and work life, to even leisure activity.
The "Slow Movement" is about cultivating a cultural shift towards slowing down and experiencing the simple pleasures of life. Residents of the old South understood this principle. It was customary for Southerners to sit with guests and relax. Nothing had to be done or discussed, they simply passed time together. Even their speech was slower, giving way to the "Southern Drawl." In earlier eras, "slow" was a way of life.
Families and friends regularly gathered for meals and long social visits. Eating was not a task to be hurried. It was a pleasure to enjoy. Conversation did not need an agenda; it was light, easy, and unstructured. No one looked at his or her watch or had to rush, because this was the moment of the day, for which everyone was looking forward.
The simple pleasure of relaxed conversations with people you cared about was recharging to the batteries, it restored balance and provided soul-nurturing connections. When was the last time you made a soul nurturing connection with anyone? Most have squeezed out time for such, in the dogged pursuit of more and faster.
It makes one wonder, if in the pursuit for something more, people have lost touch with what they already had. Today people force themselves and others into whatever their hectic schedule will allow. Following a natural rhythm, and reconnecting with what is important is what the slow movement hopes recapture.
Recognizing the disconnection and the accelerated pace of ones life is an important first step in re-establishing connection and slowing the pace. The goal is to discover how to slow down and still manage personal responsibilities. Essentially, the answer to restoring such balance is to develop mindfulness in daily behaviors, to take time to savor the moment and establish meaningful connection.
The barrier to slow living comes from the chain of behavior that allows you to live fast. Each fast aspect of life is necessary for other fast aspects to happen. Over time, people are conditioned into thinking they need, or even must be fast and have, what the fast life provides. However, deeper examination usually reveals the truth: Connectedness is more valuable than any material possession.