“I would like to spend the rest of my days in a place so silent, and working at a pace so slow, that I would be able to hear myself living” – Elizabeth Gilbert
A few weeks ago, I was on a gym for a workout. In every rest period, instead of resting, I watched my friends on a livestream app, scrolled mindlessly on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, replied to people’s comments about my Tiktok videos, etc. I was doing a lot of things at the same time. I should have breathed properly while lifting, but I lifted so that I could rest and check my phone. And because of improper breathing, and looking down at my phone, I got nauseous and almost blacked out after my routine. If only I used my rest to catch my breath, to tame my palpitating heart, to close my eyes, I should have not felt dizzy.
I observed this pattern of unconscious activities throughout my regular day and it is stealing a quality life away from me. Like watching Netflix while eating lunch, livestreaming while working, and mindlessly working at 2 projects at the same time. I also observed this while looking at my phone while on a coffee date with my friend and reading a book while eating breakfast. And at the back of my mind, I am doing this because I want to “make myself productive” or “make use of my time properly”. I am starting to believe that multitasking is a myth or a propaganda by capitalists to tell us that we should do more and accomplish more.
A couple of days ago, I tried my best to practice slow paced living. I personally define a slow life as doing things consciously and intentionally. Although it is difficult especially we were trained to do things quickly, we should know how to pause, slow down and ask ourselves “why are we doing this?”.
Yesterday I was in a coffee shop where I usually read a book, write on my journal and eat breakfast. Sometimes I do those 3 activities at the same time because I write quotes from the book on my journal. But I tried a different route this time. I just ate my breakfast first without doing anything but enjoy the food and the Americano in front of me. No cellphone. No book. Not even an earphone on my ear. Just the food. Surprisingly, there’s this very spiritual thing about being conscious, being in the present, savoring every bite of the sausage roll, and enjoying the bittersweet coffee from a coffee farm in God knows where. For the first time in a long time, I saw the smoke coming out of the freshly baked bread and the simplicity of it made me happy. In slow living, we get to appreciate and we finally get to experience fascination with the small things around us.
Of course, I am not expecting myself to sustain this kind of lifestyle all the time because let us face it, we live in a vey fast paced society. But I am going to try my best to find those moments where I can slow down, take a breath, return to the present moment and to focus on what is happening now.
I recently had a chat with a friend and he was telling me that he felt sad because he cannot answer the question “what do I want to do with my life?”. I guess I cannot answer the same question because “existential crisis” is real especially if you reached this age. And a lot of us still can’t answer that, even the elderly and wise. But the practice of living slowly allowed me to enjoy what is happening now and the question about the “purpose of my existence” does not matter anymore.
I hope you have a great slow day today!