A deep, gnawing sadness descended again this week in Melbourne as we returned to a further 6 weeks of lockdown. Franco Parvarro emerges, death is explored and reborn as a comforting acknowledgement of change.
Walking in the heart of the Pyrenees, our ascent started into the mountain range. Bursting with enthusiasm to explore and a drive to keep up with the others I pushed on uphill. Suddenly I felt a severe pain in my knee. How could this happen on the very first day of a planned five week long walk? I was not willing to give up walking with the others so easily.
Carl Honoré, responsible for bringing the Slow movement to the attention of the masses with his book ‘In Praise of Slow’ back in 2005, describes his initial realisation of the need to ‘slow down’ and reveals the many facets of slow culture.
Thoughts from a walk to the station in the morning, through wooded lanes. This is really ‘everyday’ mindfulness, as focus is not on a podcast or music, but what is going on around oneself, the sights, sounds, smells…
…[in] the past, this mind of mine roamed freely as it liked, as it desired, at its own pleasure. But today, I shall fully keep it in check, even as the elephant driver with the point of a goad controls an unruly elephant in rut.
It takes some time and persistence, but the benefits of a calm brain are numerous and essential. Look for times where you can practice these techniques – they occur in surprising places.
The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.
How can something so simple, be so difficult for us to do? Clearing our minds of clutter should not be that hard; we are not lifting anything physically, not running a marathon, not climbing a mountain. Yet the mountain in our minds can seem twice the size of Everest, and extremely hard to confront.
To some people chainsawing and therapy may seem to be worlds apart. In the spirit of the slow movement, chainsawing for me is simply a focused exercise, a means to an end and a promise of things to come.