Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Slowing Down

I accidentally deleted an email from Andy Borowitz today, an amusing "news story" about a dog being mistaken for a Tea Party candidate. So I had to go to his website, find the article, send it to myself, forward it to three friends, and then print it out. I could have saved some of these steps if had not acted in such a rush.

Email seems to encourage haste (and the inevitable errors that result). People send emails without proper editing or respond emotionally without really thinking. We are all connected to a communications system that values speed and expects us to move quickly.

I have read a bit about the Slow Movement, begun some 25 years ago in Italy to counter fast food and all that is so fast-paced that it disconnects us from each other and from living fully in the present. Carlo Petrini, the founder, says that the aim is to live "a connected life."

This type of living is not possible eletronically; it does not require speed. It means a return to the land and to simple things, to savoring the food we grow and eat.

It also means doing other things slowly, like reading. As I tutored a middle-schooler this week, I reminded him that the purpose of doing homework is not to rush through it to get it over with but to understand the material. Read for understanding, I told him. I have written an article on reading slowly as a spiritual activity. But often I forget to practice what I preach.

I am guilty of eating too fast, talking too fast, rushing through tasks as if a deadline is fast approaching, as if the teeth of the hound of the Baskervilles are on my heels. Why do I hurry when the results are so often frustrating and when I know better?

It's no wonder I turn to meditation and prayer to slow down what is supposed to be a retired life of writing and reading. Or seek out slow music (adagios, Chopin's nocturnes, Satie) or slowly unfolding films in which I can lose myself--that self that is restless and keyed up.

Now I must hurry up and finish this: the day is slipping away! Time's winged chariot hurries near.

1 comment:

jmccarey said...

You can't resist the timing can you...Mercury rising in your final line. You are definitely a potential professional comedian. Good post. You know the "slowing down" applies to me, and of course many others.