Making the connection to lifeBy joining the slow movement we have the opportunity to connect to life. What does connecting to life mean? To connect to life is to connect to every aspect of our lives. Most important of all is to connect to ourselves, and to our own movement within life. That is, to connect to our body and our mind, to connect to
Interconnectednessspirituality, to our stage in life, to connect to the natural rhythms that guide us, and to connect to death and dying – a natural part of life.
So many of us do not connect to life. We search for something not knowing what it is. We search for happiness and fulfillment. But we search in the outer world not realizing that we find these things by looking within.
When we look within we see that we are complete and our life is complete. We no longer have to strive to climb the employment ladder or to improve our social status. We see that we are part of an infinitely complex whole – the interdependence of all things.
The most difficult part of connecting to life is to slow our mind enough to even see what we need to do. Many people in the west are now recognizing they need to make connection and are searching for how to do this. These people are aware that it has to do with slowing down and moving back to basics – away from the hectic stress-filled life they are leading.
More and more people are downshifting or seeking a seachange. In different countries different physical environments are seen to epitomize a slow, fulfilling life. For example, in some countries it is the peaceful rural village or farm-life, whereas in others it is the sleepy seaside village. Perhaps in some countries it is living in the mountains.
Real connectionEach culture identifies with a certain topographic or geographic landscape as being the ‘best’ one. Australians have always been drawn to the surf. It is a nation of surfers or fisherfolks.
Some people choose not to move where they live in order to join the slow movement, but to stay and dramatically slow down and change their lives in order to connect to life. We can downshift or seachange no matter what our life circumstance or position.
Death and dying has become a bit of a taboo subject in our culture. We are so divorced from the process that it is all a bit scary – something we don’t want to discuss, especially when it is our death and dying that is the subject.
Why has this unnatural fear arisen? Mostly this fear exists because death is unknown. Because it is unknown people have developed one of three basic attitudes: one is to fear death to such as extent that we become a slave to our emotions. Some people ignore the possibility of death by becoming so engrossed in living that they do not have time to think about it. And lastly, some people accept the inevitability of death and make emotional and spiritual preparations for it.
Making the connection to peopleThe slow movement is about slowing down and having richer relationships with people. Not just our partner, but our entire family, our friends, our workmates, our neighbours, and anybody else we meet. How many of us don’t know the names of our neighbours?
We are all one
A rich relationship is one where there is a deep connection based on loving-kindness. Some people think it takes time to develop a rich relationship and a deep connection. Yet a deep connection with another person can be made in minutes. It is all about where we focus. Do we focus on ourselves, or do we focus on the other person? When we focus on the other person, and that is, when we truly focus on the other person, we make a deep connection.
When we make a deep connection we make rich relationships and …
Rich relationships make rich lives
When we connect to people in our community or neighbourhood we also connect to place and to the slow movement. In the fast-lane lives people don’t have time to slow down and talk and listen to others. Either they drive to work in stressful traffic, or they catch a bus or train and spend the duration of the journey reading a newspaper or trying to avoid eye contact with their fellow passengers.
Stopping for a chat Why do people do this? What are they afraid of? What are they doing that is more valuable and rewarding than talking and connecting to people?
This fear or denial of other people’s existence is seen in the current attitude to older people in western countries. It seems that so many times, once a person reaches their latter years they are ignored at best, and at worst subjected to discrimination and abuse.
Other cultures have maintained the respect and sense of responsibility for their aged that we have in our cultural past. Why is this? Is it a result of our crazy desire for
Just Talkingindividuation? Or is it because we have believed the propaganda the media has fed us about youth, looks, health etc, that has led to some of us placing value on these things and conversely placing no or less than no value on aging, wrinkles/saggy skin, declining health etc.?
How does the connection to people relate to how we earn our money? How many of us question the practices of our employer, not just in the workplace, but the effects of the business in the community in terms of social, economic and environmental impacts. Does the business create more division between rich and poor, or any other social groups?
As can be seen the slow movement is about slowing down and making connection. These connections enrich our lives and the lives of others. They also build the social fabric of our communities and provide a strong and resilient fabric to support us all.
Making the connection to placeOne of the tenets of the Slow Movement is to preserve cultural heritage. This is especially clear in the slow food movement where one of the emphasises is on traditional ways of preparation, serving and consumption of traditional foods, using traditional recipes. The emphasis on cultural heritage is no less important in other areas of the slow movement where we make a deep connection to place, people, and culture.
Cultural heritage refers not only to the physical qualities and attributes (both natural and human-made) of places but also to their historic, or
Connection to placesocial value for past, present or future generations. These qualities and attributes include such intangible qualities as people’s associations with, or feelings for a place. That is, there are both tangible and intangible aspects to cultural heritage.
We in the west are a mobile population, often seeking connection to place but many times not finding it. Perhaps the inability to develop a deep connection to place is because of the lack of processes whereby this can happen, and because of lack of value placed on connection.
When we focus on developing or maintaining a connection to place our emphasis is on bioregionalism and supporting local economies, and through that, supporting local communities to engage in traditional activities. When we live, work, eat, source our food, and pursue recreation within our bioregion, we are building a connection to place and to the cultural heritage of the bioregion.
How to make the connection to foodWe can create a strong connection with our food, local farmers, community members and others by:
Growing our own
- Joining or starting a community food system;
- Eating food grown in your local area or bioregion;
- Eating organically or sustainably grown food;
- Starting a back-yard vegie garden; or helping someone else to do it;
- Joining or starting a community food garden;
- Encouraging local shops and restaurants to buy from local farmers;
- Becoming acquainted with local farmers;
- Volunteering to work on a local community supported agriculture project or community food system;
- Growing and promoting traditional foods;
- Refusing GM food;
- Promoting community food systems amongst your friends and fellow workers; and
- Growing fresh produce to donate to food kitchens
- Joining a local slow food group.