What exactly is a slow life? Well, really, I believe that is relative. What a slow life is to you may well be completely overwhelming to someone else, and visa versa. Here is what a slow life is to me and how it came to be in its current manifestation at this present time in our lives…
In my mid twenties, when I began a down shift and changed direction towards a more meaningful and present life (although at the time I didn’t recognise it as such) I stumbled upon some fantastic grass roots permaculture type magazines. These simple yet beautifully written articles were something that resonated with me deeply, and as I began dropping away my hectic work schedule I was able to fill that time with things that nourished my soul such as growing, building, brewing and baking. Time also opened up to rediscover fulfilling activities and lifestyle choices such as bushwalking, yoga and living an active existence etc. Fortunately, most of what I love doing doesn’t cost hordes of money so the significant drop in wages didn’t critically affect us at the time; we simply adjusted our lifestyle to suit. We made more from scratch, bought less stuff, I quit smoking cannabis and pretty much gave up drinking; it's amazing how these things lose their value when you are content within yourself. Things were rolling along pretty sweetly.
Fast forward a few years, throw a couple of kids into the mix and the pace of life wasn’t quiet so slow and smooth. In those hectic years when our children were both under 3 our home property was just under an acre. Up until the addition of children the garden/property had been mostly my responsibility to maintain (I worked part-time while Jonny worked full-time) and most of that 3/4 of an acre was utilised land eg veggie gardens, a native regeneration project in the front yard, mini orchards, chickens and ducks. The reality of how much time and energetic investment two small children require was a big one for us and after the arrival of our second child my hubby struggled to adjust. As he spiralled into a dark place it became a very seriously challenging time for us: our slow and content existence was quickly coming undone and my sanctuary of bliss (my garden) was becoming another huge burden. Big changes and choices needed to be made and followed through. This lead us to where we are now; on a small town block in the Tweed Valley about 20 mins to our beautiful northern NSW coast line.
As the dust settles around those early years of our children’s lives, time seems to be becoming available to take a good deep breath with our heads above water (well, kind of anyway). Slow living seems to slightly resemble something like it did before the ‘in your face’ experience early parenting was for us. Life is still definitely busier and more demanding (particularly for my husband), but I think that just comes with being a parent
These days the children are somewhat more self reliant and capable, often more interested in playing with the neighbours children in the backyard then needing nonstop attention from us.
So I guess now is probably the time to describe exactly what a slow life entails for me these days: A slow life for me means having TIME. Time to be connected, un-rushed, present and to the best of my abilities, living sustainably and in harmony with our planet and its many other inhabitants.
To me a slow life means:
~ being around to get the kids off to school/preschool and being available to pick them up. To be at home to see and hear them playing (and arguing) with each other and their friends.
~ having time to be deeply connected to the land, grow enough food to meaningfully contribute to our meals and having surplus to share with friends and neighbours.
~ to cook food from scratch with real, whole ingredients as well as having time to preserve, ferment and store our excess.
~ to continue to lessen our footprint on this planet because I want my children and their children to be able to enjoy and experience it too.
~ to have time and opportunity to regularly pursue recreational activities in the great outdoors that give me and my family the chance to be immersed in mother nature while learning the importance of respecting and caring for her.
~ To share this concept of a connected life with others, especially women and mothers; for me this is through teaching yoga in my local community.
With warmth and love
Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Teacher
Classes in Murwillumbah and Cabarita Beach