Slow down to experience more

I came across this article not that long ago that I think is good to pause and share.  I had bookmarked it before and only managed to read it in its entirety today (a day that’s a bit of a break for many–sort of).

The article is an excerpt by Jay Walljasper from the book Less is More–a compilation of essays on the simple living movement.  I came across the article from

It seems these days and for quite some time, many of us are in a revved up state most of the time as we rush around and multi-task in our work lives and day-to-day lives as we look forward to those little breaks of one or two weeks where we can chill and take vacation, go to the cottage, go on a retreat, do less, hang out and catch up with friends/family.

With the ongoing fast pace of things, we really do have to make a conscious, proactive effort to slow down.  The article indicates that this fast pace is not necessarily due to technology but economics…and our monoculture of speed.  It states that it is “ironic because speed has always been promoted as a way to help us achieve mastery over the world.”

As the German environmental thinker Wolfgang Sachs  stated in his report: “In a fast-paced world we put a lot of energy into arrivals and departures and less into the experience itself. Raising kids, making friends, creating art all run counter to the demand for speed.”

There’s also a great quote in the article from (Environmental Activist) Jeremy Rifkin’s 1987 book Time Wars: “We have quickened the pace of life only to become less patient. We have become more organized but less spontaneous, less joyful. We are better prepared to act on the future but less able to enjoy the present and reflect on the past.”

The article also quotes Ezio Manzini (another contributor to the book) who points out:  “Rather than accept that the world offers just one speed, we have the privilege of ‘designing’ our lives.”

So rather than a full rejection of speed, we can generate balance by embracing and integrating the aesthetics and importance of slowness. Designing our lives with this balance of speeds will serve to benefit us, society, nature and our ecological environment.

Check out the full article: Slow Is Beautiful: Why Learning How to Slow Down Is the Key to Simple Living.


Focus and mindfulness (amid the hustle and bustle)

As we start a new week, I thought it would be fitting to share some interesting pieces to do with focusing and also mindfulness.

Amid the hustle and bustle around us and so many activities and things that seemingly call for our attention, one really has to proactively focus on focusing!  Even with tools that make things more convenient and speedy, it’s not easy maintaining focus. I came across a great mind map diagram (by Learning Fundamentals) that could be used as a guide:
How To Focus In The Age of Distraction.

There’s also some helpful info about mindfulness provided online by The Greater Good Science Center.  Check out why practicing mindfulness is important and how to cultivate mindfulness.

Lastly, for an amusing look at what happens when we aren’t all that focused and give in to distraction, here’s a video by Lev Yilmaz on procrastination:

L.A. restaurant gives discount to ditch the phone

The Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles is offering a 5% discount to patrons who check their phones/electronic devices at the door before being seated and dining.

Nowadays, it’s definitely a common sight to see various people regularly turning to their phones and devices to check messages, text others, or post comments or status updates…all while dining with other people.  Often practically everyone around the table (or at multiple tables) is turning their attention and focus on their phones.

Should we just get used to the ubiquitous nature of technology in our daily lives–including when we’re socializing and dining with company?  Do phones and devices at the dinner table distract, disrupt and disconnect us from the meal and dining company?

Read the article about this restaurant at Mashable:


Scientific Reason to Stop and Smell the Roses

Here’s a study indicating that people are happier when they take time to appreciate the good things in life.  I’m guessing we already know this but need a gentle nudge and reminder.

The study shows that appreciation plays a significant role in one’s quality of life.  With the hustle and bustle of everyday life and our tendency often to focus on what we don’t yet have (or can’t seem to have), this is a good reminder to pause and take stock of the good things close to us already–to periodically reflect on positive aspects of our lives, to enjoy the moments, to value what’s around us.

Check out the article:  Scientific Reason to Stop and Smell the Roses



The appeal of walkable neighbourhoods

Check out this link:  The appeal of walkable neighbourhoods

It’s an article from The New York Times about how neighbourhoods that are walkable are coveted–where everyday needs can be met by walking, transit or biking.  The piece links residing in such neighbourhoods with economic status and higher valued real estate.


In thinking about walkable neighbourhoods, I’m reminded of an interesting book I read years ago:  Great Good Place:  Cafes, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, And Other Hangouts At The Heart Of A Community.


Some excerpts from the book:

“Having the necessities within easy walking distance is the defining characteristic, the common denominator, of vital neighbourhoods.  Convenience does not emerge where local residents make little more use of the neighbourhood than to eat, sleep, and watch television (well, now-a-days Facebook, Netflix, and surf the internet)–all within their homes.  But in localities where an easy walk secures postage stamps, dry cleaning, groceries, a magazine, or a sweet roll and a cup of coffee, there will be life beyond private dwellings.”

“In using nearby facilities, in visiting them afoot and regularly, the residents of an area effectively create a casual environment and reap its benefits…People get to know their merchants and their neighbors; from among the many, the compatible few are able to discover one another.”

“Such an environment is well described as casual because the elements of accident and informality are strong within it…Without having to plan or schedule or prepare, those who move about in a familiar and casual environment have positive social experiences.  They bump into friends; they receive daily doses of novelty, diversion, and social support.”