what slow living means to me
Anyone who knows me well probably doesn’t associate the words ‘slow’ & ‘Jessi’ within the same sentence. I have been very quite guilty of being far too busy for my own good, pursuing multiple things at once. Any other multi-passionate humans out there: I feel you nodding & resonating. We are in this together!
10 months ago Matt, my fiance, & I moved our entire lives from inner city Melbourne Hustle-Bustling to the mid-north coast of New South Wales. The biggest challenge for me as soon as I arrived, was adjusting to this incredibly mindful, intentional pace that people seem to live on here by the coast. I didn’t realise just how much my entire nervous system had integrated with the fast paced, almost competitive feeling that living in the city brought with it. I struggled to jump off that treadmill, that chase, that space of constant flight or fight.
Here there are daily reminders to slow down, check in & be grateful, with breathtaking sites everywhere you look, the smell of fresh coastal air & the feeling of constant sunshine. We moved to pursue a more intentional life, to have days with more space & a savouring of the important things. For the proximity, to cut travel time. Never did I think I would actually wind up splitting my time between working from my homely office & groovy beachside cafes that were maximum 10 minutes away from home. As I finally start to feel my feet land on the ground, & my body start to unwind here, I look back to the constant & complicated unfolding of my nervous system & see this way of living that I simply no longer want to subscribe to. This means looking at the place from which everything I do in my life, even down to the way I drink my morning coffee & walk the beach, comes from. I don’t want my life to be a series of just doing things to ‘tick them off a list.’ I want to feel the fullness of each simple moment & allow myself to be content exactly where I am.
After a long while of reflecting, I now realise that my struggle with truly slowing down when my feet hit the ground here on the coast came from a deep place of restlessness. I couldn’t just sit still, I was in this endless chase to prove something to this new place. & yes, in ways that hustle has paid off now through having a flow of work that I have fallen more in love with. & yes, the place from which that hustle came from was mostly well intentioned, in wanting to be purposeful in whatever work I am doing here so that I overall feel lit up in my days. However the space of hustle meant I was unable to ever switch off, work began to take over me & run my life. It meant that no matter what I did, busy would follow me endlessly. It was like this addiction that was never able to be fulfilled. It was this endless cycle of cramming my daily to-do list unrealistically full & coming out the other side of my days completely disappointed with not reaching my own shitty, unachievable benchmarks. I was paying a huge price: my wellbeing. & for what?
I was looking at the space between where I was creatively at that point in my career & where I aspired to go & letting it create anxiety & panic inside of me rather than an appreciation of the journey & the time important things take. I now see just how exciting it is that we are never really finished & are always in a process of becoming. I was being completely unrealistic & quite frankly outright impatient with myself & the process. On a deeper level I was crumbling, I was an emotional wreck & in a kind of darkness that is hard to put words to as at the time it felt like simply surviving & ‘getting through it.’
3 months in, I completely broke down & fell apart. My world stood still & I didn’t know how to keep going on at the pace I was. My own shitty self talk had worn me down into a complete blobby mess. Something desperately needed to change. I have shared a little on this pattern I have struggled with of ‘go go go to burn out’ before. Throughout my life it’s been something that has followed me & at certain times before I have got more of a handle on it to then lose it again.
Slow living to me isn’t about having long days on the beach, or about having a certain ‘lifestyle.’ Slow living can’t be bought.
Slow living is an intention to live from a place of calm, of love, of awareness. Slow living is a swift step in the direction of contentment & simplicity.
It means listening to my body & looking at my monthly cycle to then actually plan my activities around that. Right now I am on my first day of my period, so naturally I am going to be in my comfies with a warm cup of tea, structuring the activities that come most freely & naturally to me within my business in this time. In this case, it means being a hermit & not sending energy out I don’t have.
Slow living calls for a deep trust in what this moment brings & for life in general. Hustle to me comes from this place of dis-ease & restlessness that is completely grounded in a fearful place.
Slow living in itself says that good & worthy things take time & practice. Life is a journey full of bursting colour & adventure to be enjoyed. When I live slow, I am taking the time to practice yoga & do the things that keep me present & on my centre. Slow living speaks of potency & bringing more to everything I do through scheduling less & leaving some breathing room to enjoy my dog.
It means breathing a little deeper & bringing awareness in my body. It means choosing myself always, this means changing plans & saying no more often to things that aren’t necessary or uplifting to me. It means protecting my time & it also means finishing things.
Mostly it means savouring the love & life I have. I am very in love in this time of my life, with so many things & when unnecessary worry starts to knock at the door to my life I will politely close it & bring it back to the present.
Most of all: it means accepting the joy, the contentment that is trying to find its way in for good & throwing out shitty beliefs that life is meant to be hard. I say screw that, I am choosing to let joy find me.
But slow living also means, slowing down to feel the shit things too. It means acceptance of the parts that aren’t comfortable. Better yet, it means knowing that it’s a privilege to fail, because it means I have given it a shot & have endless choices. It means readily going into discomfort as much as I do pleasure.
Slow living knows most of all that life is happening now. Our days are what make our life. So I am choosing to work from my heart rather than the clock. I am amazed already at my deeper access to joy & gratitude since choosing to be more intentional about the place inside of me that my ‘work’ comes from. Slow grows flowers, busy misses the point.
Enjoying the pleasures, being with the pain. & slowing down enough to savour the ever unfolding of my days.
What does slow mean to you?
Now go enjoy x