When you head off on a journey you usually know where and what your destination is. You know roughly how long it will take you and how to get there and what to expect at when you arrive.
Life isn't like that. We don't really know what is at the end of the road, yet we spend our lives in such a hurry. When you're a child you can't wait to grow up, once you're an adult you are constantly looking forwards, planning this and that, worrying over things that have yet to come, thinking about next weekend, next month, next year. Most of us forget to appreciate the present, to soak up the now, to just live in the now.
After suffering last year with depression, stress and constant anxiety one of the biggest things that has helped me has been practising gratitude. When you are able to find and focus on good things from your day every day it helps you rebalance your mindset and finding things to be grateful for every day meant paying attention to those moments, noticing the things that bring your joy as they happen. Becoming mindful of those small moments in my daily life really did help.
Gradually searching for beautiful moments extended to capturing photos for my instagram, or buying flowers to create images to take. Going for walks out at the nature reserve or down by the river and capturing snippets here and there, deliberately living a little slower to search out the beauty around us
Slowing down has taught me that life is the destination.
Rushing ahead, being in a hurry, planning to do things when this or that happens, worrying about the future, these mindsets mean we miss out on now. What is happening right in front of us. Taking a minute to stop to watch butterflies dance amongst the wildflowers will fill you up. Even the most mundane routines can be made in to their own moments of magic, becoming a ritual rather than a routine.
Slowing down is being present and simply being. Being alive is why we are here yet it is as though as a society we have forgotten the simplicity of that. As a reclaiming of our lives the slow living movement has been growing over the past few years, the slow food movement reminding us to eat with family and friends and to share, field to fork; and slow craft, the resurgence of old almost lost crafts as well as the more traditional crafts such as knitting, weaving and macrame. Thrifting, making, growing your own, minimalism, anti-consumerism, all united with the aim of reconnecting with our lives and shifting our mindsets to having lives that we participate in more fully.
I am now in the process of giving away, recycling or donating a lot of items as I'm having a declutter. I have hoarder tendencies so it isn't easy going but I know that letting go of things will create mental space as well as physical space (which I will then have to fight the urge not to fill), releasing old behaviours and past-selves a long with the stuff I let go. I am not sure I will ever be able to call myself a minimalist but it is what I am currently striving for. It will be nice to not have to hunt for ages for a certain thing and it will be so much simpler to clean the flat and both of those will give me more time.
I want to do more gardening over the next year, although there is a possibility that we may have to move, so I think perhaps vegetables in containers, I do already have a little herb container garden. Getting my fingers in the dirt and tending to the flowers and watching the garden come alive this summer has been a lovely experience and is very meditative. When I am gardening I am only thinking about what I am doing and what is happening in the garden. It is a slow process and worth it.
So i will continue to embrace slow and factor it in to my life more and more because I think that in slowing down we are truly living. And living is the destination.