Slow Down, You Move Too Fast (Got to Make the Moment Last).

20160325_134452OK, so that’s paraphrasing Paul Simon, but I find myself singing this hippy, trippy song on my daily walks. It makes me smile as I wander.

I don’t wear headphones when I walk. I think I would miss the sounds of nature, the blackbird singing her heart out in the trees, the laughter of kids in the forest school, even the whoops from Go Ape when I get closer to Delamere Forest car park.

I know that walking, commuting or doing chores are prime candidates for multitasking. For listening to podcasts, audiobooks or a random playlist. But I just don’t enjoy noise when I walk (or when I write / design / proof read). My brain only seems to be able to do one thing at a time. I can’t read and listen to music; I can’t walk and listen to podcasts. I can breathe fresh air and notice the world around me.

In search of slow, I wander in the woods or step out of the garden gate into the fields. I take time to look around and to listen. I mull over the tasks ahead, I dwell (too much) on yesterday’s failings or problems I can’t solve. I might meet a neighbour, also out walking; often they’ll remove one ear bud and try to hold a conversation whilst their playlist continues. A tinny background noise as we exchange village gossip (garden produce successes, a new neighbour or another house for sale).  I want to shout “Unplug yourself”!

But, shutting ourselves out from the world has become the norm. I am the odd one out on the train because I’m not constantly scrolling through my smart phone or wearing headphones. I used to worry about this. Friends told me I was leaving myself exposed, that random strangers would “bother” me, that I would feel safer and more cocooned if I took refuge in my electronic devices.

I love those random conversations; if I am occasionally “bothered” by the person next to me I move seats. More often I discover fascinating stories, a man fresh out of prison on his way to visit the son he hasn’t seen in 15 years; the grandmother off to meet her first grandchild (yes, lots of photos, plenty of proud smiles); the teenager visiting a favoured university for an open day who has never been on a train (“Mum drives us everywhere”). We once took a train trip around Europe; we met friendly, interesting people on our travels. In cafes they would recommend their favourite flavour of ice cream or tell us where to eat dinner (In Italy a waiter at our hotel told us to eat at his brother’s restaurant “I grow the wine he sells, it’s my hobby”. It was the most delicious Montepulciano I’ve ever tasted).

On my walks I learn to recognise the call of birds, to hear the wind as it rushes through leaves in autumn, I hear the crunchy frost under my feet in winter. These are my mindful moments. I don’t need a 10 minute podcast to show me how to slow down, empty my mind and let go of those anxieties that cloud my judgement, The sights and sounds of nature are all I need.

Do one thing at a time, do it well. It sounds fine in theory, but it’s so tempting to rush through the “to do” list, to move on to the next chore. My working life is governed by deadlines, sometimes I need to work late, long hours or weekends. It’s not healthy and not always productive, but necessary. Finding ways to slow down, to relish the small moments of joy keeps me balanced. If your balance is an audio book on the daily commute, then that’s fine. I’m not suggesting everyone should unplug all of the time. Maybe some of the time? Use your time in ways that are productive and satisfying, ask yourself what strategies work for you. Find your own slow.

You and me, we’re different people. There’s no right, no wrong journey the slow life. Just a gradual shift to happiness and contended living.

I tread my own path. And I’m feelin’ groovy!

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  • I’m Tracey Todhunter. I’m a freelance writer. specialising in green / ethical living – with a “sideline” in craft!

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  • Adorable twitchy nose, cute little feet - but don't be fooled - this cheeky fella has eaten every single pea I planted in the greenhouse - no wonder his coat looks so glossy!
#girlgardener #ediblegarden #organicgardener #permaculture #forestgarden #growyourownfood  #slowliving One of the most  precious gifts you'll get in life is a best frend. Flowers from the garden - even in January! Last year I set myself a goal, to have flowers from the garden every week of the year. January it seems is easy - winter flowering clematis and viburnum doing a great job of cheering up the utility room today! Gardens are about feeding the soul, not just food for the table.
#cuttinggarden #flowergarden #permaculture #forestgarden #girlgardener #makingwinter #winterstories Last Saturday morning, Allonby. Wish every weekend could start with a walk on the beach, the winter light is so beautiful! 
Today I shall mostly be blocking crochet swatches, baking bread (my "signature" spelt  sourdough) & trying to book an Easter holiday! Whatever you have planned, be happy my Instagram friends xxx
#slowliving #winterstories #notjustlakes #morningslikethese #seekthesimplicity In the greenhouse, in the dark - clearing up and making room for this year's veg :So good to be getting dirt under my fingernails!
#girlgardener #growyourownfood  #organicgardener #ediblegarden #permaculture #forestgarden Hellebores, I love their delicate flowers and "barely there" shades of pink and couldn't resist bringing a few into the house today.  I'm slowly dealing with the pile of work on my desk, answering emails and doing one task at a time! 
Living with chronic illness is challenging and frustrating, but  slowing down and make the most of each day is a lesson I needed to learn!
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