Our modern, busy lives demand so much from us. In the rush of living, one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to allow ourselves a little time to slow. Slowing is not just about the pace of living, nor is it necessarily about relaxing or doing less. Instead, a slower approach to daily life is about allowing ourselves a little more time to pursue those things that feed our souls.
Self-development is a practice. It is the discipline of intentionally and deliberately bearing witness to the dance between our inner life and what is happening in the external world. It is the practice of not only becoming familiar with our thoughts, feelings and the consequences of our actions but of beginning to understand why we act and feel the way we do. The understanding of this why can be used to shepherd our decision-making with regards to where we ought to go next, ensuring that the direction we move toward is most likely to lead us to a life well lived.
Today we are all faced with more options than any generation that has come before. This is at once a gift and a responsibility. We can allow the enormity of the possibilities open to us to overwhelm us, paralysing us into an inability to make our own decisions or move forward in any meaningful way, or we can take responsibility and become the curators of what we consume.
The responsibility of consumption in this regard does not necessarily refer to what we eat or buy but more so to what we read, watch, listen, and expose ourselves to.
In a wonderful interview titled ‘What we Nurture’ from the thoughtful ‘On Being’ by Krista Tippet, Syliva Boorstein shares a thought-provoking parable:
A wise grandmother once said to her granddaughter “I have two wolves inside my heart: One is loving, and one is vicious, and they are at war with each other”. The granddaughter asks “which one is going to win?” and the grandmother answers: “The one I feed”
Faced with so many choices, will we become passive consumers of what we are told to follow or will we use the opportunity granted to us by this unique time and place in history to cultivate a more complex version of ourselves?
A world with too many options demands that we develop the skill of becoming selective with our time and attention. When we are clear about what is most important we can begin to structure our life in a way that ensures we create time for the things that nourish our soul.
So much of our time and attention is locked into habits we cultivate that we have never made a deliberate decision to give so much of ourselves to. Habits that are almost certainly not going to lead us to where we truly want to get.
Recognising what those habits are requires an understanding of who we want to become and the ability to discern the path that is most likely to lead us there. But it also requires dedication and sustained effort. The effort to choose what is seldom the easy option: to invest a little more care, to persist a little longer, to pay closer attention and to engage a little more fully.
A clear sense for how we want to lead our lives and who we want to be is the biggest aid to finding time to live more slowly. Because living a little slower necessarily involves saying no to so many of the choices and opportunities on offer. Whether it is reclaiming time from media to learn something new or actively choosing to be fully present with the people who matter most rather than divide our attention, when there is more on offer than the limits of a day can contain, the skill of mindfully selecting what matters most is an essential part of moving forward with contentment and purpose.
What we feed our souls with is what our souls end up becoming. A diet consisting of little substance will most likely not support us in the long run. We ought not to shy away from complex flavours full of depth. Though often challenging at first bite, complex flavours teach us to sense and understand in a way we could not before.
Learning to become comfortable with the complexity of life, to embrace it and use it to develop a more complex sense of self is the challenge of growing wise. Building an ongoing practice of self-reflection is ultimately what allows us to become ever more proficient at guiding ourselves towards a life that feels meaningful and true to the person we would like to become.
Images above show a brand new snowflake crackle glaze bowl and plate (coming very soon), Belgian Linen Tablecloth in Ecru, Snowflake Crackle Glaze Bowl, Snowflake Crackle Glaze Dish Set, Stone Washed Flatware Set, Stone Washed Cake and Pie Server, Iconic Unglazed Mortar and Pestle, Natural Shuro Palm Trivets, Organic Cotton Hand Towel in Natural, Classic French table Glasses, Copper Kettle (with the unique patina that builds after several years of use), Handmade Copper Cup, Parade Plant pot in Antique Rosa (which appears darker in colour when the soil of the plant is wet), Simple Mug in Matte Grey, Tea Strainer in Matte White, Heritage Brass Water Mister.