Thursday, March 7, 2013

Slow Down

I've been thinking a lot about slowing down lately, perhaps because my life is about to speed up again.  In one week I return to my life as a power ranger.  It will be fun leading people through the longest cave in the world once again, but guiding tours at Mammoth Cave is a real game changer for every day life here at the Tweedledee.  For example, bread

can't be baked on any old day that we choose, it has to be baked

the day before our work week starts.  And I need to remind myself of all of the quick and easy meals I cook on busy days so that the boys can make our supper on work days.

In thinking about the pace of life, I was remembering the slowing down process I went through years ago as we embarked on the sustainable living path.  If you are serious about moving toward a sustainable lifestyle probably one of the most important ingredients is slowing down.  Now you're thinking "fishing pole" "long walks in the woods" "reading all of Leo Tolstoy's novels".  If that is what you're thinking I guess you're right on one level.  We do get to do all of these things and more, but most days, honestly, are chock full of work.

Sounds busy right?  Like something you need to hurry through?  It seems that way, but in comparison to the life I once led, it all moves much slower.  For example, when I was young I washed dishes in a dishwasher.  For the past 25 years I've washed dishes by hand. 

Much of that time I have not had running water to fill the sinks, I currently use my wood cook stove to heat water that was gathered in rain barrels. 
Do not mistake this as a complaint.  I don't only do this because it's "green" or even sustainable, I do it because I like to do it this way.  If I didn't, I'd insist that we hook up to city water.

So, if you live in the city or suburbs where do you start slowing down? A good place to start is food.  There is a growing slow food movement worldwide.  The basic idea is that food is more holistically nourishing when it is dealt with slowly rather than quickly.  When we slow down our food processes, we think more deeply about the food and what it's doing for us.  Here's a way to go about slowing your food down.  It may sound cliche, but give it a try.  Take one or two days out of each week to downshift.  If you normally eat most of your meals at a fast food place, on those two days pick up a box of pasta and a jar of sauce and have a quick pasta meal at home.  If you mostly eat quick pasta type meals, on those two days make a more complicated meal.  Etcetera, etcetera. All the way down to if you normally cook complex, interesting meals grow some (or all) of the food necessary to cook them.   At each step though think, really think about the difference between what you are eating and what you would normally eat.  Enjoy the additional nourishment.  And realize that you have just made a first step to a more sustainable life!


  1. Another example of the GOOD LIFE. We're talking on a fairly regular basis about making the change. :D