He stood in the dappled shade, leaning against the bark of a tree. The meadow grass curled around his ankles and cattle grazed under his sleepy watch. The stress-point of his day was probably when I moved in too close to one of the calves, intent on getting my photo just right. He meandered over, slapped the animal on the rump whilst making eye contact with me. I took the hint and stepped back. The herder slowly made his way back to his tree while I continued my photography from a more acceptable distance. Bright clouds hovered around the surrounding mountains and migrating geese called to each other overhead. I’m not sure if life gets any slower than this.
Our current culture sees the word ‘slow’ as negative and to be avoided. Life is lived in a hurry, with many tasks to be accomplished in our allotted 24 hours. Yet, we all know that this produces stress, anxiety, bad eating habits, sour tempers and a deep desire to simply slow down.
Slowing down is a life change that will help us be more successful and fulfilled.
There are so many positives to ‘slow’.
Elite long distance runners find benefit in running slow during training. It builds aerobic fitness and endurance. To lean on a cliché, life is a marathon, not a sprint. If these elite athletes know to slow down, then perhaps we should take heed. Slowing down helps us make better decisions, pay better attention, see details, and avoid pitfalls. There are so many ways we can slow our life down that will help us win, like elite athletes.
Taking time to prepare a wholesome meal from naturally grown produce slows us down and creates an appreciation of the life cycle of seeds and their fruit and God’s bounty given especially for our sustenance.
Talking to our family over a meal slowly consumed opens pathways into our loved-one’s lives that may not even be noticed when we are in a hurry.
Allowing young children to walk along their own chosen path, discovering and collecting treasures along the way, builds curiosity in them and rediscovery of simple life pleasures in us.
Unhurried dates with our spouse produces understanding, compassion and desire – ingredients that go a long way toward a fulfilling marriage.
Careful attention to our work, taking time to do it right, kindles a seemingly forgotten pride in a job well done. Focusing on a few things will help us master them and be truly successful.
Starting our morning off slowly, with time set aside to wake up with God, with ourselves and with our family sets our day in the right direction.
Intentional acts of ‘slow and steady’ produces a different pace in our inner being. A pace that is simpler, smarter and more sustainable. A pace that is in tune with creation and all its’ goodness. A pace that values the beauty of life and sets eternity in our heart.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
All images belong to Michelle Tessendorf