Sunday, November 4, 2012

Slow is the new smart

Greg and I were reading, when he looked up from his copy of Senior Living magazine and said, "Have you heard of Sedgefield?"

"No," I replied.

"Oh" he said, "it's in South Africa, so I thought you might know it."

What tweaked my interest as Greg read on was that Sedgefield had declared itself a Slow Town, the first town in Africa to do so.

I'd heard of Slow Food, but I'd never heard of Slow Towns.

In the Senior Living article, Life in the Slow Lane, Mandy Trickett said:

Locals say that the tortoise sets the pace in Sedgefield and they mean this quite literally -- those "tortoise crossing" road signs are strictly obeyed.
Tortoise crossings, huh?  That really intrigued me.  I wanted to find out more, so I did a Google search for Slow Town.  

It turns out that the Cittaslow [Slow Town] movement began in Italy, and was inspired by the Slow Food concept.

According to Wikipedia,

Cittaslow's goals include improving the quality of life in towns by slowing down its overall pace, especially in a city's use of spaces and the flow of life and traffic through them.

Sedgefield resident,Sylvia Ferguson, has a lovely website about her town, including a page devoted to its Cittaslow status. It's worth a read.

As soon as I read this stuff about Slow Towns, I was struck by the similarity with the cohousing movement.

It seems to me that cohousing also could be called Slow Housing -- and I mean that as a compliment.

It fits perfectly with the larger Slow Movement.

As I've continued to Google, I've discovered that there are other Slow Initiatives, such as Slow Gardening, Slow Money, Slow Parenting, and so on.

Many residents of Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community are gardening, parenting, spending money, traveling, and doing other activities the Slow Way -- whether or not they realize that they're representatives of the Slow Movement.

According to Wikipedia, the Slow Philosophy is summarized as follows:

The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today.

It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. [emphasis mine]

In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal.

Yes, many aspects of the cohousing lifestyle -- like the consensus decision making process -- are slow. And, yes, the slowness often does call on us to be patient. But the return on investment is immeasurable.

There are so many rewards, I don't really know where to begin. I think for me one of the greatest delights is watching all the Slow Children who live at Pacific Gardens.

A bunch of us Pacific Gardeners being treated to Tyler's and Soma's music while we visited around a fire after our Thanksgiving potluck.

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