"Slow is the new slogan. Slow food, slow art, slow time. Many artists today are tuning themselves to slow down and pay closer attention to their lives as a source for inspiration." These are the words of author, Suzi Banks Baum, and they are words that resonate deeply with me.
In the past ten years, I have learnt a great deal about slowing down. I was forced to start learning when I had chronic fatigue which left me unable to do much but shower and get back into bed for a period of about two months. I made a commitment to listen to my body, and to give it permission to rest when it was tired, instead of pushing it on. Learning to be kind to ourselves is not easy.
I leave this weekend for three weeks in Italy. And even though I have learned to slow down significantly, I still find myself needing to slow down even more, and more importantly, wanting to feel comfortable in the slowing down, the doing less, and just being more. I hope to learn much from being surrounded by the Italian culture. To see how a culture which values the siesta - called the riposa in Italy - can stop in the middle of the day to rest and restore (what about that list of things waiting to be done?) I believe knowing how to let go to bring oneself back into balance is an art form.
Apart from a week of Slow Photography in Italy: Seeing with Your Senses and Your Soul, I will be spending three days in Chartres, where the well-known labyrinth built in the 13th Century is laid in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral. So the labyrinth will be teaching me how to slow down as well, one step at a time.
I hope all will understand if I am slow in responding to emails during this time away. To find a new slow, I think one has to remove oneself from familiar patterns, and for the three weeks in Italy, daily access to the internet will be one of the ways I will be giving myself time to let my soul slow down.