Once upon a time, my friend and I wrote a blog series in the lead up to Lent, a significant time period in the Christian calendar from Ash Wednesday up until Easter. We wanted to slow down, to stop with the hustle, to sink our hands into work that felt wholesome and quiet, and unhurried instead being pulled along by the the noisy tug of the rushing world around us. For about 7 weeks, we each wrote one post.
Later, we compiled all of these essays into a printed book, and called it Embracing Slow.
(Side note: I still have a little stash of our second print run, that I’ve just packed into moving boxes – if you’d like one, let me know. They’re $20, including postage.)
During those days I was fairly busy (well, I thought I was) – I was at uni, finishing off my undergrad full time, looking after my family, leading a women’s ministry…
But lately my ’embracing slow’ message has seemed somewhat peremptory.
Now that I’m in the middle of packing up my house, starting a new job, continuing to work at my previous job, as well as managing the emotions and easing the transition into a very new space for my kiddos, and trying to have conversations with my husband before my eyes get too heavy of a night… well. I want to apologise.
I’m sorry if you felt inadequate.
I’m sorry if, while I was baking home made sourdough, and telling you to embrace slow, you were working two jobs, or caring for an unwell family member, or homeschooling multiple children.
I’m sorry if it sounded hubristic, if you felt lacking—if it made you feel like there was just one more thing you couldn’t do.
Because I’m there right now.
While it’s the holiday season in Australia, and schools don’t return until February, and many of us are enjoying slow mornings and bare feet and salty beach hair, I’m not (okay I’m still enjoying salty beach hair most afternoons, I’ll admit).
I’m working a crazy amount of hours, as well as packing up a house and wiping dust from forgotten corners, and brainstorming the simplest meals to make the family. I’m not complaining, and I am so grateful for my work, my income, and for finally packing to make a move we’ve been planning for a year!
I’m simply saying that I know now how irrational it can sound, this sprouting of the ’embracing slow’ message, to someone who is living a life without the luxury of time off work, or a slow summer holiday period to enjoy.
But the thing is, the embracing slow message has grown and flourished deep, and even in this busy season I’m reaping a harvest of deliberately unrushed and gentle rhythms, that I’ve been sowing for years.
So if you’re feeling like you’re drowning in busy, I’m literally there with you girlfriend, and here’s a few things I’ve learned to do in the process:
- Stop the scroll. Don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up. Charge it in a different room over night if you have to. Wake up slowly. Even if it’s to a 5:30am alarm, you can still wake up slow. Stretch each limb. Let your eyes adjust. Notice the light. Make a mental list of the things you’re grateful for. Take deep breaths. And without spending twenty minutes scrolling, you’ve now got time to sip a cup of tea or your morning coffee by the window, or on the front porch, or read a chapter of a novel, or the Bible. Embrace mornings.
- Let go of perfection. I’ve learned this out of utter necessity. There just has NOT been time to do everything. Some things I’ve had to let go of. Like the ironing basket – I’ll get to it when I get to it. No need to stress myself out about it. I’ll go to the beach instead thank you, please.
- Meet in the kitchen. Our island bench is our communal space – it’s where we prep meals, eat breakfast, do homework, sip coffee, play card games (Monopoly Bid is our favourite, at the moment). I’ve made a conscious effort to stop here. At the end of a long day at work, it would be easy to hurry along the evening routine, but instead I’ll sit at the island bench. Often all three kids amble in, pull up stools, or lean against a cupboard, and tell me all of the inconsequential moments in their day. I could rush them, but then I’d miss this sacred, slow connectedness that comes from a stopping and eye contact. It might only be 10 minutes, but its one of the best ways I intentionally embrace slow.
- Prioritise real rest… whatever brings rest for you. For me, lately, it’s quality time with old friends, wine, or coffee, and food, and good conversation. I’m scheduling it in, prioritising it, writing it in my calendar and smiling as it approaches. Life is busy, but we can’t wait for it to stop so that we can do the things that fill our soul. Make the space and time to do those things regardless of the busy.
- Cook big meals. This is my secret superpower. Who cares if you have to eat the same meal twice? It means you’ve just saved a WHOLE night in the kitchen. (Also teaching your kids to cook is a win… Eden made us chicken and bacon fettuccini carbonara all by herself tonight and it was a fist pump moment).
One day, maybe you won’t be so busy.
But even in the midst of this crazy busy life, I believe firmly that there are always ways we can embrace slow and breathe deep, and snatch moments of deliberate calm in the midst of our day. I’m holding on to this today anyway.
Yours, knee-deep in moving boxes.