‘Slowing down … is about allowing room for others and otherness. And in that sense, slowing down is an ethical choice.’*
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every set you take. That’s why it’s your path.”**
This is about being stuck and getting unstuck, about being lost and finding the way again. And we all get stuck, we all get lost.
Perhaps those who are stuck most of all are the ones who are trapped in the kind of busyness that is more about answers and rarely about questions.
Slow time, contrarily, is about questions – having the time to find things out, including about finding out about ourselves. Slow listening is open and inquisitive about the whole person, the larger world, and the universe of possibilities.
Over the millennia, humans have developed many tools to help them find some movement with purpose, tools to be used with their most powerful capacities of imagination and reflection: drawing, recording, music, creative writing, books and journals. Getting unstuck will involve these things in our lives in some personally pleasing way:
‘Intentional silence: Pick a practice that helps you connect to your source.’^
Who’s listening to you?
Who’s your slow listener?
A slow listener doesn’t tell you what you ought to do – more answers – but helps you to hear what is coming from within you by asking questions:
‘When we are in rhythm with our own nature, things flow and balance naturally.’^^
One thing we can do is step outside of our plans and routines and simply wander. Wandering can be physical or metaphorical but I believe it’s always about exploring the Self we’ve neglected because we’ve been seduced by technologies. This very capable self has been there all the time, if only we’d listen.
In order to wander, simply provide yourself with some unplanned empty moments when you’ll allow your feet or nose or eyes or ears take you where they will. There are no rules. If you want to take pictures, write things down, sit in one spot or journey through many, that’s entirely up to you.
One thing to be discovered, though, is to feel the whole universe is listening to you and what you have to think, feel, and do.
(*From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(**Joseph Campbell, quoted in Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)