The Invisible Auxiliary Benefits of Slow

We all know the feeling of impatience when things take longer than they ‘should’. We tap our fingers, pace the floor, or shout unkind words in our heads or at the windshield, depending on the proximity of others or the level of their so-called offensive slowness.

But I ask you, what are we rushing toward? Why does the ‘is’ upset us so drastically? Because it often is not in alignment with our own personal ‘should’.

I was talking to a friend about some recent changes that were made after our server got updated. It took our six-person team about a week to adjust to the new system. Emails were ‘slower than usual’ and sometimes bounce-backs occurred (I remember when a bounce-back referred more to an immediate relationship after ending a long-term one. Being on the rebound meant you could bounce back to normal only after the fling had ended…)

“You know, Christine,” my friend sagely pondered outloud. “Maybe our Emails are supposed to take a little longer. I mean really ~ isn’t there power in slow?  I, for one, still own a rake. I’d rather plod along my yard to the scratching noise it makes than zip around, emitting sound and CO2 with a leaf blower.” Not to mention the fresh air and exercise. Moving at the speed of a rake sounds good to me.

Oftentimes we think there is no benefit to doing things slower. We tend to believe doing things faster is somehow better. But what about the auxiliary effects of going slowly?

  • Walking to the store instead of driving (exercise, light exposure, green, meditative)
  • Raking your yard instead of leaf-blowing it (exercise, light exposure, green, meditative)
  • Taking time to provide a thoughtful answer to an Email (you may remember to include more things, thereby reducing Email traffic considerably)
  • Managing expectations ahead of time (reduces upset, especially around the holidays)

If you doubt the power of this, try walking just one pace slower today. Notice how you feel as you bring yourself to move at a slower speed. Do you feel impatient and anxious? Or do you feel yourself opening up to new possibilities and ways of thinking? Along the path, toss a few ‘shoulds’ in the drink. Then tell me how it went!

1 Comment

  1. Olivia

    December 7, 2009 at 12:58 am

    I think this happens bit by bit as we are committed to a slow lifestyle and begin to question our assumptions about everything.

    I used to feel badly about waiting to comment on friends’ blogs. I wanted them to have feedback to know that what they wrote was important and impactful. Now I feel fine about waiting. If the post is thoughtful, I often like to chew on it for a while. I like to respond “slowly”.

    At my house we are liking what we’re learning. We don’t miss the extra things we’ve cut out to have more time to do things slowly. At this time of year, it’s especially nice to be relaxed and to have the luxury of time when so many people feel as though they don’t.



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