We just take for granted that everything is happening fast now. Everyone talks about faster, more efficient, better ways of doing things like it’s supposed to be the most important thing in the world. I should know. My work has to do with making companies more efficient. Premium is placed on the efficient, the effective, the fast. And I even get paid for it.
That is why this last pandemic is a giant pause in the eye of the proverbial speed storm. We were forced to slow down’ and for those who took note of it and used the pause to their advantage, we are invited to live life in a more full, deeper way. Our idea of what’s essential were challenged. Our sense of what’s real was reflected back to us in this new world of virtual meetings and classes. For many of us, we found spirituality in this pandemic. For many of us, we found ourselves.
The list below is a reminder to continue to slow down in this culture of fast. They run counter to the culture of fast. They run counter to the culture that gives unnecessary premium–and the expectations that go with that premium–to what is faster, and bigger, and better. They remind us that what is faster — and this pandemic has been a great teacher — is not necessarily and automatically better.
Here are some examples. Maybe you can add your own observations in the comments section below.
1) Handcrafted coffee. Specialty coffee shops that serve coffee the old-fashioned way (using a press) are starting to make headway again. They are the antithesis of Starbucks, and while they may not grow as big as Starbucks, there is a growing market for it. When this pandemic started, I invested in a cold brew setup and went back to brewing my coffee (we had Nespresso before). The longer time it takes to brew coffee forces me to take a break — it’s good for the body ergonomically and it’s good for the soul. It tastes better, but more than that, it reminds me that not everything that is great can be had fast. I love it when I have to wait for the coffee to drip slowly before I go back to work. It’s amazingly zen and meditative.
I also subscribed to a great startup coffee subscription service here in Singapore called Perk. They deliver coffee just enough for two weeks two days after every roast. It’s infinitely better quality coffee than the ones you buy in bulk.
2) Instagram. I have found myself coming back to Instagram more and more lately. I loved the whole philosophy of an Instagram picture — while you can take many photos with your phone camera, Instagram forces you to choose just one or two to post. And before you do that, some work has to be done– you add filters, adjust the color palette, sharpen the image, add a quote. You have a sense that every photo is a masterpiece — the best that you can come up with, given the time you have. Instagram, if you think about it, forces you to stop, and make choices. Instagram is the anti-thesis to fast. InstaStories is a different, uhm, story.
3) Yoga. In the last few months, and because I’ve been on Instagram lately, yoga has become quite a craze again. Partly because the centering that yoga brings is really needed nowadays, or maybe the people who were too busy for yoga before found that you can do yoga in the comforts of home and without having to commute (although you can also say that going to a yoga studio before is part of the process), or maybe people just need the break from all the work from home. Yoga reminds us to go back to breathing, and our centers and be mindful again in a world that constantly pressures us to be scattered and mindless.
4) Mindfulness Practices. This last few months, more than any other time in history probably, a lot more people have learned, studied, and practiced mindfulness. Whether it is by using apps on their phones or watching Youtube videos, people are crawling back to mindfulness.
Something’s happening to us this pandemic. We were on a seemingly unstoppable train that was going on a thousand miles per hour. We had to be stopped. To counter the famous line of Tom Cruise in Top Gun, maybe the human need is really not for speed. The human need is slowing down, and finding our center, and collecting our scattered selves to find wholeness again. In the age of fast, we need to find some way to go slow, or we may lose more than just time. We may just lose ourselves.
Here’s a song by Ginny Pantig, called Gather Me.
You have a minute? You might also find these interesting:
- Letters from Casa Santillan
- How Psychology and Spirituality are Two Sides of the Same Coin
- Three Practices to Celebrate Your Day
- Volo Ergo Sum
- First Two Steps to Creating Resilience