slow living movement, embracing idle moments & rest as essential parts of growth. slowing down as a function of awareness, awareness as a function of presence.
there is romance in taking the time.
taking the time to walk
taking the time to read
taking the time to cook an elaborated meal
taking the time to listen to a piece of music
taking the time to colour in a circle
taking the time to notice
taking the time to wonder
taking the time to listen
taking the time to think
taking the time to fall in love
create an altar within your inner world
a space to return to when you need to be reminded of living as an ode to (being in) your own presence
Are there other ways we can be generative and productive without taking on the singular definitions of a Capitalist, neoliberal structure? Are there other ways that we can define the stentorian voice of progress? If we’re not progressing, if we’re not producing, then there’s something wrong with us as a community, as individuals. What if rest is, as I’ve said before, listening to one’s Elders? What if rest is dreaming? What if working is playing? The university structure is one example of a colonial imposition that sees study and learning as only one thing; university tells you that if you’re not studying in some disciplinary manner, then you’re not studying. But what if having a conversation with a friend is a form of study?
Slowing down has been interpreted by many communities as doing what we’re doing but at a slower speed—that is, literally slowing down the pace of who we are. I had a German brother write to me and say that “Slowing down in vocation isn’t working because my bosses are still on my neck.” I responded by saying, “Slowing down is not a function of speed. It is a function of awareness, and I don’t want to make awareness a mental construct. It’s a function of presence.” So, when I invite slowing down, I invite us to research and to perform research into the ancestral tentacularities that precede us. I’m asking us to touch our bodies, and touch our colonial bubbles. I’m asking us to listen, to witness, to ‘with-ness’; to be with land, and community, and ancestor, and progeny, and children in a way that isn’t instrumental. Activism is increasingly instrumental, meaning it’s a form of power that is tied to the logic and algorithm of the status quo. This makes activism, even in the search for justice, a creature of the status quo, which renders hope and justice, as ironic as that sounds, a creature of the things we’re trying to leave behind. To slow down is to hack the machine, like we’re taking on other forms of body that allow us to penetrate into different kinds of realities—other worlds.
Rituals are architectures of time, structuring and stabilising life, and they are on the wane. The pandemic has accelerated the disappearance of rituals. Work also has ritual aspects. We go to work at set times. Work takes place in a community. In the home office, the ritual of work is completely lost. The day loses its rhythm and structure. This somehow makes us tired and depressed.
In The Little Prince , by [Antoine de] Saint-Exupéry, the little prince asks the fox to always visit at the exact same time, so that the visit becomes a ritual. The little prince explains to the fox what a ritual is. Rituals are to time as rooms are to an apartment. They make time accessible like a house. They organise time, arrange it. In this way you make time appear meaningful.
Time today lacks a solid structure. It is not a house, but a capricious river. The disappearance of rituals does not simply mean that we have more freedom. The total flexibilisation of life brings loss, too. Rituals may restrict freedom, but they structure and stabilise life. They anchor values and symbolic systems in the body, reinforcing community. In rituals we experience community, communal closeness, physically.