Standing slightly on the edge of mainstream life up in our valley prompts uncommon perspectives. ‘Slow’ simply wasn’t a word in my vocabulary previously…
However, this exploration of a different way of being and doing isn’t just a Welsh valley phenomenon. There are extraordinary expressions starting to emerge all over the place that are gaining momentum.
To assume that slow is simply the opposite of fast is an oversimplification, laden with negative connotations. And the charge that it is the luxury of affluence, whilst valid in part, is not the whole picture.
Daniel Kahneman in his ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ identifies that our minds work on two different settings. Fast, habitual instinctual reaction – which we need to function in our everyday lives, and type two, slow, thinking that is more conscious and deliberate. This form takes in more information and is more costly in terms of brain power. Neurologically we are inherently lazy and have a tendency to favour the kind of thinking we don’t have to work at!
For repetitive actions this is fine. But it doesn’t serve us well for bigger or more significant issues.
If we are going to really assess where we are and what we need to do about it, we need to be more deliberate. We need to grow our capacity for slow thinking.
But this is countercultural. Busyness is a proud label for many of us as leaders. Yes, we can make things happen. However, if we don’t find the way to slow down and think well, we could simply be doing wrong things faster.
I have been conscious of the need for more space to think. Not only for me, but also for people who want to do good work, in whatever sphere. Our First Fridays @ The Waterside is an expression of this. It’s a natural gathering place to think, talk, create and be restored. To take a dose of slow…
The slow food movement is now much more mainstream. Its pursuit of simple, good food from sustainable sources, honoured in its production to satisfy both body and soul. Wonderful.
We have the opportunity to intentionally change our relationship with food. Not just its consumption, but its value and production. Slow food is an environmental, social and wellbeing good. The impact could be huge, affecting not only our whole lives, but also that of our planet and communities.
Recently I encountered the slow clothes or slow fashion movement. I suspected that something like this existed and was delighted by what I found.
Celebrating natural fibres and the approach to valuing the whole system of production and marketing really resonated. Integrity, conscience, quality and sustainability. Those embracing the slow philosophy recognise the environmental and social impact at all levels, including post purchase. The circular economy in action.
This has wonderfully reframed my thinking around our lovely alpaca fibre and the design and production approach I am exploring. It’s liberating and I’m really encouraged that there is a growing movement I can connect with.
I am conscious that this more intentional approach requires a deliberate, counter-cultural choice. However, it isn’t in our suite of acquired habits. And it might open up areas we would naturally prefer to keep under wraps.
But I wonder what difference it would make to our lives, our work and our world…
Where might a slow movement approach tilt your perspective on things that are important to you?