Tag: Slow movement

Last week was spring break here in Austin. And the big SXSW film/interactive/music festival too which brings in a few hundred thousand extra people to town. We had house guests join in the fun. We went to a bunch of different parties and other outdoor events most of which were just a few blocks from our house. We had no real agenda although we had a loose idea of a schedule and we all had a pretty good time. There were some low points here and there usually having something to do with hunger or fatigue but overall I think everybody got what they needed. And by Sunday we all returned home tired but happy.

I talked to another mom today and they went camping for most of the week avoiding all the mayhem completely. By Sunday they too returned home rather satisfied at a week well spent.

Still another family stayed in town but barely left their yard and opted instead for tending to their garden, reading lots and lazing about in the temperate climate with just a hint of a drizzle. They too all got what they needed.

Yet another family of four took a crazy wild road trip going from place to place to place until they too all returned home tired but happy.

Which emphasizes a point I make quite a bit but which takes a reminder every now and again. We all like different things. Different families all have different ideas of what constitutes a good time. And we have different needs too in order to fill our proverbial vacation cups.

So I have a question for you – whether you’re heading into your own spring break, just finishing up, or dreaming about a big family trip in the future.

How do you describe a successful and satisfying family vacation?

On the road or at home? In town or far away? Action packed or sedentary? What are the elements you need to have your family vacation feel how you want it to feel? And for everyone in the family to feel like they got what they needed?


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The Answer Lies Within

Last night before my teen daughter went to bed, she and I were discussing a dilemna she was having in regards to something she had signed up for. It was taking a lot of mental space and causing her a bit of worry. We talked about the issue, what was good, what was hard and what was the greater good.

As she was ready to turn off the lights and hit the pillow I told her that she didn’t need to do anything at this moment in time except to ponder the issue, “Just sit in the feeling and the answer will come. The answer lies within and will come when you let yourself step away from the spiraling and pause in the feeling.”

I realized this was kind of the crux of it all and definitely the big idea behind Slow Family Living.

When we worry about everything from the small to the big –

– what to do, where to go, how to sign up, how much to sign up for, how to find connection, who to meet, where to live, etc. the answers lie within us. We just need pause long enough to figure out what direction to take, what decision to make.

And that is the idea behind slow. The slow is the pause. And the pause will bring you closer to what you want/need/love.

The answer lies within and will come when we give it the time and space to do so.

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Baby Sleep Positions

My cousin, mother of twin girls, sent me an illustration last week of Baby Sleep position from How to Be a Dad. It was one of those funny-because-it’s-too-true kind of funnies. And my 5 year old’s belly laughs were just a little too heartfelt if you ask me. There are more on the website. If you relate. Which something tells me you probably will! My personal favorite is Booby Trap with Snow Angel being my son’s fave. Which one hits most closely to home for you? Which one makes you laugh…until you cry?

Baby Sleep Postions

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Encouraging Thanks

It’s the time of year for thank-you notes! A habit I love to model and encourage in my children. And one that I know isn’t always that easy to do – especially when there are so many to say thanks to and so much to be thankful for! Sometimes those lists just feel overwhelming. To me and to the kids.

This year we have a new way of doing them. A way that not only says thanks but encourages family connection as well. Read about it on Future Craft Collective and then gather the family for a little collaborative gratitude session!

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Eckhart Tolle on Parenting

I got this great message sent to me by my friend Kathie, who is often sending me great tidbits of wisdom of her own or others. This bit of parenting wisdom came from an interview with the German philosopher we all know and love: Eckhart Tolle .

I love his reminder that teaching comes from modeling. I love using our own meltdowns to remind ourselves and our children that the emotion is not us. It is just emotion. And it washes over us and through us but then it is done. I love his reminders that actual experience speaks volumes over virtual ones. I love the way that reading Eckhart Tolle echoes in my head with a German accent.

I’ve highlighted some of the points that particularly spoke to me. Does this speak to you? (Feel free to read it with a German accent if you like.)

Q: Can we help our children and others that we love to transcend their unconsciousness?  Or is it necessary for them to go through it on their own?

There are more children born nowadays who may not have to go through the deep unconsciousness that [adults] had to go through, certainly that I had to go through.  And also there are more children born nowadays to parents who are in the awakening process, or relatively conscious parents. In my generation, I can’t think of any conscious parents.  There might have been some, but it was rare.  They are still rare now, but much less rare than before.  I loved my parents, but they were deeply unconscious.  So, the question is how to help the children stay relatively conscious, so that they do not get drawn into the mass unconsciousness that still pervades mass culture, and the technology that promotes unconsciousness and addictive behavior.

The most powerful teaching is not what you say or do to them, but your state of consciousness at home. That’s the very foundation for teaching your children.  It has nothing to do with teaching, the foundation for transmitting consciousness is not even wanting to transmit consciousness to them, but to hold the space of presence as you interact with them at home.  Also, to hold presence as much as possible as you interact with your partner.  There’s a relationship there that will infect them, with either presence or painbody.

The most vital thing is, before even thinking of doing anything, is being conscious.  They observe how you behave, and they take that on board to some extent. Of course, another influence is mass culture, as they spend more time at school.  Occasionally there may be things that you can point out to them, so that they stay in touch with immediate experience, sensory experience.  Don’t let them lose touch with nature. So many children these days are so involved in technological games, they don’t experience nature anymore.  It’s something totally alien to them.  That’s a very harmful thing.  It’s a great deprivation, to be deprived of the immediate experience of the natural world, which puts you in touch with deeper levels of your own being.  To have an animal at home is a great help.  If children relate to the dog, it’s a non-conceptual relationship.  You can touch the dog, look after the dog.  Getting out into nature periodically, without the gadgets that [kids] usually have.

[Watching] television is a state of semi-comotose hypnosis.  It may not be easy because everybody else is doing that kind of thing.  It’s not that you have to eliminate that kind of activity completely, but discourage them from spending 100% of their free time with those things.  Take them into nature, without the gadgets.  Encourage them to direct sensory experience – to touch, to feel, to look at things.  Encourage them to not confuse conceptual labeling with true knowledge or experience.

When [kids] are learning language, encourage them not to equate concepts with reality.  When you teach them what something is, encourage them to touch it, to see it, to feel it, not just to say, “this is called such-and-such”.  Continue to look at it.  Otherwise, you stop experiencing – and all you have is a mental label.

They label themselves, as well.  I’ve noticed this with my daughter, she will come home and say “I’m stupid” at this or that.

That’s a good way to encourage her not to identify with her thoughts.  So if you can point out that it’s just a thought, and that they don’t have to believe in every thought that comes.   If you can somehow work with them to have them realize that they are not their thoughts, so that there’s a space between them and their thoughts, to observe their thoughts, and when thoughts come you can explain “it’s no more than a thought” and it may not be the reality, it may not be true.

Most humans have painbody.  Dis-identify from the painbody by pointing out that this is the painbody.  I’ve often said not to call it “painbody” for the children.  Give it a name, call it something, and mention it when occasionally they get taken over by it.  Point it out to them afterwards, “what was that, that took you over?” so that an awareness develops.  There’s the emotion, and there’s the awareness. Encourage that kind of thing, so that they are able to look at the emotion that takes them over from time to time.  And after the event, not during the event initially, say to them, “What was it that took you over when you started screaming yesterday?  What was that?” and say, “What does it feel like?” or invent some game, so that you can make it into something that they can be aware of.  Then “let’s wait for next time it comes, and see how it feels”.  If you have it, then you can point out after you’ve woken up from your painbody – “the same thing happened to me”. The key in education is to show the possibility of being aware, rather than always being identified with what arises in their mind.


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Slow TED Talk

We love TED talks. We especially love TED talks when they are about slow living. Check out our friend and inspiration Carl Honore, author of  In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure: Rescuing our children from the cult of hyper parenting giving his TED talk.

Click here to view it.

Maybe one day we’ll give a TED talk…

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What is slow?

According to Slow Planet slow is…

“…not about doing everything at a snail’s pace; it’s about working, playing and living better by doing everything at the right speed.”

With this in mind we can see that what is slow can vary from person to person, family to family and even day to day.

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