Slow-living - an uncut diamond


Recently we discovered Slow-living - we learned to create a space for slow living in your life follows in the wake of minimalism, together with a sharper clarification of values and liberation. Read how we made space for Slow Living and what it does for us.

We are in the process of simplifying our lives. We are slowing down the speed, and, as a result, we gain more time for all the important stuff: Being present, the conversations, the moments – the life. 

Slow is coming into focus, and we understand how it works and why it is essential.

The theme of the Year instead of New Year's Resolutions: Slow down – step up.

We don't make New Year Resolutions in our house. Instead, we have a theme for each year. Throughout December, we talked a little about what we wanted to focus on in the coming year and chose an item, which we celebrate and set into motion New Year's Eve under the starry sky with a glass of champagne and good company. 

Our yearly themes are a driving force for the projects and processes we are involved in, and our yearly themes are a great way to reflect on how we develop ourselves as a family.

Our Theme of the Year is "Slow down, Step Up." 

Earlier themes have been: Light and Air, Focus and Progress, An Exciting Year, and Surplus and Abundance.

We use the themes to develop ourselves - the themes are a focus for our talks and personal development. The idea is that the theme integrates into our lives, not that it leaves as the year changes.

When things happen backward

Now it is September, and last week I suddenly realized we had forgotten the second part of the theme. The theme was thought of as a combined theme: 

Step up = should symbolize the focus of moving forward, being present, whole, and fantastic. We have lived up to the 'Step Up' part, but we reached September before we succeeded with the Slow Down part.

It appears to me mystical, maybe magical. But it is undoubtedly as it should be: things happen just fine and as they should, and in the order and sequence that works and makes sense, but rarely in the way I had imagined when I got things going.

From the minimalism project over chaos to slow.

Minimalism has filled a lot in recent months – with the attention to let what is most essential fill even more and to get rid of what is of less importance. This is true both in the calendar, on the to-do list, in the daily chores,, and in the physical items we own and surround ourselves with and the way we choose to handle them.

In the wake of this project, the practical level rises to chaos. Our home becomes simply a mess, like the mess when you are moving home; things become crazy difficult. Our time becomes filled with decisions, packing boxes and back and sacks, and energy is directed at this. 

Our conversations are about choosing: both what we will do and what we will keep, where we will take things, and why.

But Slow is a more subtle companion. My new best friend, Slow. The exact reason I can now experience the fullness as 'slowness creates space' is because I have chosen to step into character (Step Up) with more focused efforts and follow a large amount of (actually, an enormous amount of) inner work ahead.

Stepping Up – The story of a transformation

Right now, I can remember two big projects that have filled this year. Of course, the big "Everyday-routine Establishment" and close behind the reopening of my blog). There are actually more milestones, but let's start with these two in the link.

In June, I began to teach the kids to participate in basic household tasks in a far more focused and consistent way than before. We are, of course, free here and think that self-directed is the only valuable truth – BUT. I actually don't want to be a maid, cook, housekeeper, economist, cleaner, or dishwasher for my children. 

We have established the fundamental and practical things which are a part of this lifestyle we have chosen (which took a lot of time) and subsequently had a thousand discussions, as well as a row of conflicts, about them.

Throughout a few months, we have finally managed to reach a place where daily teamwork in laundry, the kitchen (to keep it in order and clean, I am fine with making the majority of food myself), clean the table and floors once per day and make the bed in the morning.

This equates to the necessary personal upkeep, which was established as a good and thorough habit.

The basic order that follows this is so sincerely freeing for me, and I must underline we don't in any way reach the goals every single day. We are too spontaneous, and we travel too much to complete this every day.

When everyone thrives and cooperates.

Now we know we all together can overcome the practical things on a basic level, so I can be here; this is the change. We can do it very fast, and we can work as a team. 

Knowing we can do this, I can deal with the chaos for one or two days, but as a general rule, I cannot function in chaos.

I also need to be here, I actually live here, and the new thing is (inside me, it is new); it is totally fine that I am just the way I am. 

I need for things to happen the way they do to thrive.

My well-being is worth just as much work as all the other family members, and at our place, well-being always comes first.

The fact that anyone else likes it is another story. 

My process, my "Step Up," has been about daring to stand up for this reality; and it must spread to be a joint reality so we all can be here, including me.

Sharing is caring – about opening the blog again. 

During our winter trip to La Palma (a canary island) over December and January, I became confident it was time to blog again. Still, it became summer before I conquered it and set the wheels in motion. It is emotional to blog about our lives – to open up. 

Many conversations and considerations were needed, plus a trip around to fellow homeschooler MajMy, who also blogs, before I was ready to begin to write seriously again.

Once in a while, I get a comment or a mail that makes me feel I could write the entire blog again just for this one person and their family. It is really important, really. 

Not because I am the only one in the world with this lifestyle and a perspective like ours, but because my voice in the choir is our own - it is unique.

We need a change – we need people who are wholehearted, people with opinions, people with focus, people who can think for themselves, and people who dare to make a difference. 

My goal with this blog is that I can help to contribute to this change.

An added bonus with blogging is we become smarter. It is me who writes the blog, but as with everything in our family, everyone is involved. 

I write, but we all talk about the topics. My husband and eldest daughter read through the posts and comments, and we reflect on what it is exactly I am writing about and why it is crucial to share. 

Everyone is involved; everyone has a voice. These conversations make us more aware of who we are, why we do what we do, and what comes out of it.

The challenge is often that we have lived this so-called different life for so long our perspective is elsewhere. When we meet people outside of the "hippie segment," it can sometimes feel hopeless to explain how we live. 

When we meet people, we are always met with a lot of curiosity and openness, and interest, not negativity or raised eyebrows. 

My writing is a catalyzing process for our travels. It is an awareness-giving task to communicate: an enjoyable process to put words on it. I am thankful for you who read this and for the modern world where the game-changing internet exists. Where we thus can reach each other and be co-creators in each other's lives.

Space for slow, when the important things are in place

Here, three quarters of the way into the year, there is finally a place for slow. Suddenly this theme opened up for us, and we are discovering the quality of doing things slowly. The logic in buying an organic coconut is opening it with drill holes (so the shell can be a birdhouse or something else useful), scraping out the flesh with a knife or spoon, pouring the water in a jug, blending briefly, sipping slowly, and drying the pulp in the oven (for date confectionery or bread) – before you have the coconut milk in a smoothie or warm cocoa or Hokkaido soup or to pour over the oats.

The consideration sounds like this (and in relation to the coconut milk, it came from my clever husband):

"Is it really time-saving to go down to the supermarket and buy coconut milk in a can? First, you have to earn money to purchase coconut milk. Then you need to go to the supermarket and buy it - and it takes a super long time to find one that has real food inside (only coconut milk and water, no additives). Then when you have used the product, and once done - you need to clean it so it can be recycled. It is far cozier to stand together with your kids and make coconut milk ourselves than it is to stand in line at the supermarket, and concerning durability, a coconut comes with its own packaging."

We haven't worked it out, and we won't either because slow living is not about mathematics. The goal isn't time, money, or optimizing, but slowness in itself.

Another takeaway of slow loving - here in the example of coconut milk, is that we then don't have it so often. A long time ago, we decided that if we were to have tasty delights (cakes, sweets, confectionery, chips), we should make them ourselves. It wasn't to forbid sugar, but to create awareness, that it requires effort to get brownies.

Yesterday we decided the days of chips from the bag are over. It is super easy, tempting, and convenient to buy chips/crips in a bag at the supermarket. But with a deliberate "slow" focus, we experience increased value on many levels. The most important is existential, where we are not so busy but rather happy and present: perfection and meaningfulness.

When we mess around with coconuts or set the washing in its place, we know why we do it, and we have set aside the space and time to do it thoroughly.

How Slow Links with Stepping Up

The link between Slow and the mentioned part of Step-Up is when I dare to breathe air deep down in existence and listen to the deep, inner vibration which has such a subtle and quiet sound but so precisely points towards my road in life; so I can write, so I can be here, so I can step into character. When I can do that, I am not busy. Then I do what is essential.

Then I stand with my YES and my NO, you know, my choice and my waiver, and suddenly there is a lot of time. A lot of life. A lot of space, high up to the ceiling, wriggling bare toes.

I haven't filled out any schedules or set my values in a system or any form of bullet-journal-habit-tracker order in my Step Up. It isn't new values that filter my decision-making. In many ways, it's the same as it's always been. The most significant difference is:

Number 1: 

The daily practical work is sorted and does not fill my time or snatch my attention and energy.

Number 2:

I have taken the muzzle from my mouth, and with the blog has chosen to stand with all the choices and waivers, attitudes and raised eyebrows, and all the strategies and reflections which I think are relevant.

These two elements: the relief in my surroundings and my daily housework, make me start my days Slow.

Slow and simple, but not easy.

Slow is really hard. It is the most natural thing in the world to move at full speed, attain more, do more, set notches on the "to-do" list, whiz around like a fly in a bottle, falls dizzy in the evening, and do it all again the next day. To want to do everything, try to do everything, do everything, and finish it all. Maybe you get tired, but you don't need to make it difficult. 

Choose to opt out. Say no. Sit still. Be a stone in the water.

Slow is about giving yourself time and about filling time. Be! Be present. It is discovering the quality of filling your seconds with meaningfulness. 

Have less on the to-do list. It's not easy.

Slow isn't easy. Slow is something you practice. Slow requires focus. Something you get better with over time. And with us, it has only been in focus for a short time. But it will not disappear again. It's absolutely fantastic. 

An uncut diamond

Slowing down is an uncut diamond in our lives. I don't fully understand it yet, but it's glowing in front of me for the time being. I am looking for ways to get it in focus and have in front of me an almost empty calendar. I am trying to learn not to start new projects and just focus on simplifying meals, making time for conversations, making time for not having anything to do, just enjoying the clouds and the sun, going to bed late, sleeping longer, breathing, drawing, reading (more) stories.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this unfold over the last three and a half months of the year and seeing what it can bring.

Slow down rhymes very well with the minimalist theme, and I think for a bit that The Minimalists have such a mantra-like word: When you leave everything behind, the important follows. Yes – a little salesy. But compared to Slow, I think: When you slow down, doing one thing at a time slowly, it creates a space for what's important. And then you actually do what is essential. Then the magic arises inside the tranquility. To do it slowly is to do the important thing. First. And only.

What is not worth doing slowly is probably not worth doing at all. Or it is worth waiting for proper space, focus, and time. I know it's very provocative to say that, and today's order is in a hurry. But I don't believe it. It is a sacrifice of oneself: I have been indebted to it for years, and Slow becomes the way out, becomes the clarity, becomes the responsibility for his own decisions, for his time, for his productivity, for his contribution, for his being.

Welcome to my reality. I'm looking forward to sharing more about slow living once I've learned more.

May the sun shine on you


Cecilie Conrad

The dust binds - The Existential Clarity in Minimalism
Revisiting unschooling - If I had known


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