Discover How to Slow Down – Rethink your Speed of Life – The Slow Movement

hat sparked the creation of the slow food movement?

Shifting towards slowing down the world’s cult of speed

Carlo Petrini protested against the opening of a Mac Donald’s in Piazza di Spagna, Rome in 1986. 

There is more to life than increasing its speed- Gandhi

It is almost as if we have a new addiction, doing more and more in less and less time, our love for speed.


Youtube Channel “From Slow to Flow”, Secrets with Julie Spark: watch here


Podcast Channel “From Slow to Flow”, Secrets with Julie Spark: listen here


We have less time for us, we eat processed food, skip exercise, we drink too much, with as excuse overworking… Which indirectly becomes a health hazard. We are looking for ways to escape, drugs, cocaine even becomes a booster of choice. Ever took some drugs to overachieve? 


The concept of slowing down revolves around rethinking your speed of life


When is the last time you were alone with your thoughts? Slowed down, no distractions, no background noise, mastering the art of doing nothing


For fast acting relief from stress, try slowing down – Lily Tomlin





Slow is beautiful. Belonging to the slow movement doesn’t mean you have to be slow all the time. I also dare to take the fast boat. Ha! It doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time. I am serious, but I never take myself seriously. 


I wrote another book, coming out next month, “Slow Intimacy”. I tend to slow down intimately, simply because it’s appeared to be most exquisite. 


Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it. – Soren Kierkegaard




I also took the habit of cooking from scratch, and occasionally use the microwave, not the other way around… #slowdown


Today a pig reached 220 pounds, and is slaughtered before losing its baby teeth; a couple of centuries ago, it lasted 5 years to grow up to 130 pounds.  


Carl Petrini launched Slow Food. Slow Food at the heart is about pleasure, eco- gastronomy. We believe eating well goes hand in hand with protecting the environment. Enjoyably dining with friends and family, permaculture, farm sustainably, using artisanal products, local and fresh goods. 


Taking the time to eat a nice meal, in a nice setting, is just as important. I remember eating my sandwich at the wheel driving to my next meeting. Barely digested, I was already getting the next contract signed. I felt like I had to be working all the time. Do you feel like if you spend less work at your desk, you’ll get less work done?


 I’ve changed that habit, and I take time to eat, I even allow myself to have a nap after my digestive walk. Taking the time to eat relaxes me. I do things in full conscience. I allow myself to have a sensual moment with myself. When I start working again, in the afternoon, I get a lot more done. Simply because it feels like a new day is starting my brain is well-rested, and fresh again. I’m not milking it. 


I often felt like my stomach was going to explode. Because I used to eat so quickly, impossible to catch the signal that I ate too much. It takes 15 min for the brain to register the signal, but my plate could be swallowed in less then 1 min. My mom used to call me the “slooeker”. 




The Slow Food take on the modern world, says fast food is not genuine food. It is not sustainable, it fills you up ephemerally. We are tired of eating things that have no taste, no history, no link with our land. We want something better. 


 I have started an on-line cooking show with my father, and I have to admit, I used to always say: “I have no time to cook.” Well, everything is a question of perception, isn’t it? Because now I take the time to cook. I love chopping the veggies with a loved one, smelling the garlic, and onions drizzling in the olive oil, fresh ginger, diced pumpkin, carrots, curry, and coconut milk; over a freshly steamed basmati rice, fresh coriander from our permaculture garden. Loving it! Cooking has become a type of meditation for me. Served with a savoury Belgian beer. 


Meals have become a moment of celebration, sharing with ourselves, others, silence, and the present moment. The stress of the day melts away. 

We are what we eat. – Ludwig Feuerbach


And come on, let’s face it, we are our first doctor. What we put in our bodies is crucial, it can heal our system, or acidify our body. 


The psychology of taste:


“The pleasure of the table are for every land of every place in history or society, they can be past of all our pleasures, and they last the longest, to console us when we have outlived the rest.”


The Petrini principles are- pleasure before profit, slowness before speed, and human beings before head office. 


The slow cities, or Citta Slow; supporting a new way of looking at life. A spirit of neighbourliness, and hospitality, preserving culinary traditions, protecting the environment, small family run business, home- made products, farmer markets, local products, green spaces, and zones for pedestrians, ecological transportation, cutting on noise, and traffic, resisting the pressure to live by the clock. 


Instead of being obsessed with time you enjoy every moment fully. 


Your entire life consists of the present moment.

-Eckhart Tolle


Taking the time to meet people in the street, instead of rushing from point A to B. Promoting a philosophy of “buen vivire”, well-living. 


Fast thinking connects with our masculine yang energy. It’s the way workspaces today operate. The clocks are ticking, we are constantly under pressure, defining clean solutions well- defined problems. Rational thinking, analyzing problems, logically, in a linear way. 


Slow thinking connects with our feminine yin energy. We must be relaxed, to think creatively, one must be calm, free of stress, unhurried. I often found my greatest ideas, when walking around the island, jogging in the rice fields, cooking a vegetarian meal, reading, or simply contemplating the stars at night. 


When I shift my mind into a lower gear. When I’m lucky I find this white slate, and find inner stillness. A dreamy state, almost meditative, slow thinking is when I find the most qualitative inspiration


I’ve always lived in this world that prizes speed and action. But when I relax, set aside my overpowering impatience. I learned to accept inaction, and I learned to accept uncertainty. #mastertheartofdoingnothing


Instead of pushing ideas to the surface, I let them incubate below the radar. I allow my mind to be in stillness. I meditate, and train my mind to relax. 


There are many ways of meditating. You can focus on an object, like a tree or the ocean; a mantra, I’m sorry, Forgive me, thank you, I love you; a sound, like aaaaah; a concept, like family, friendship, love, or ageing. Close your eyes, and focus all your attention on a fixed point, like your third eye, the point between your eyebrows. Slow down your mind, and feel your breath flow out of your nose, caressing your upper lip. 


My mind is rarely silent, it clearly has a mind of its own, and frankly that’s OK. I see thoughts as clouds up in the sky. I acknowledge them, I see them, but I don’t let them own me, I simply watch them float away. I do the same with my thoughts; work, family, friends, problems, fears; when the mind wanders focus on the breath. Personally my mind never shuts up. I often wake up because I can hear the creativity flowing in my mind… Yes, my mind wakes me up! Silence please! Ha! I call it my creative insomnia…


One day, I was in Rishikesh at the International Yoga Festival. One of the facilitators made us do a fairly long shoulder stand; “One inversion a day, keeps the doctor away!”; he said. 


I came back down, and sat in a crossed legged position, and suddenly there it was, a moment of complete stillness in my mind. Peace. Bliss. I could literally feel myself breathing, and that was it. It was the most peaceful moment of my life, and also the moment I understood the importance of slowing down. 


The moment I opened my eyes, looking at Ma Ganga river , worshiped by the Hindus as the goddess of purification and forgiveness. I made a promise to myself, to embody the movement of slowing down, which had changed my life, and share it with as many people as would care to listen. 


Breathwork and meditation make me feel so good, I’ve adopted them as a daily companion. As soon as I’d feel my level of speed rising to an uncontrollable amount. I’d stop, take 5-10 min to just breathe, I’d let the calm infiltrate my mind, heart, and soul. My life could get extremely busy and stressful. 


Meditation and breathwork help me identify problems more clearly. It allows the best ideas to surface. I often like to say:”There are no problems here, only solutions.” I clear and calm my mind, and that’s where I allow the creative part to express itself. 


Even if everything is burning around me, it gives me the possibility to just be calm. I don’t get caught up into it anymore. I envision an island that is calm, in the middle of an ocean that is crazy. 


That calm mind, tastes like freedom. When I see people get so worked up on things, I remember what it used to feel like. My poor body would also suffer from it. Today, I manage to be engaged in my life, but I have a broader spectrum. I’m in the ocean of craziness, but at the same time I’m on the island of calm. Not on a tiny bamboo raft, paddling like a crazy person. Which makes me feel much happier, and life feels lighter. 


By living by the slow movement vision, I am more mindful, and I’m able to enjoy the present moment. 


You know that feeling where you feel like you have a zillion things to do? 

You have no idea where to start…

You almost feel like you’re drawning, shortness of breath, …. 

Ouf! Heavy mind, brainf****. 


Insert an afternoon of netflix potato couching, drooling, completely avoiding the entire thing, and then feeling guilty about it. Yeah, been there too. Jesus! What a sad painting we put ourselves through, right? 


Yeah, I don’t have that anymore. I find clarity of mind, and calmness. Connecting with nature really helps; and music. When I have that afternoon, I tag it as mastering the art of doing nothing. I actually force myself to take 2 days off a week. And the outcome is that thanks to taking that time off, my brain works miraculously better when I get back to it. 


Is this workaholic speed of life and creative insomnia abonments healthy? 


Agness Rupplier said;


It is his pleasure that a man really lives. “




I feel a true need for connection today. The need to really do things that nurture our soul. To me that’s doing charity; giving back. It is something you can’t put a price on, but it has so much value. It’s something that connects me with the world, and with other people. It brings meaning. I feel like there is a great hunger for meaning in our culture today.  


I buy things that are handmade, things that people have invested time in, it gives it real value and support. The artisan, the farmer, the artist, … Artists have a real special relationship with slowness.


The painters, the sculptors, or any kind of artistic creation master the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. The eye of the storm is characterized by the stillness. In the midst of chaos, managing to achieve stillness is an art. 


In music, the secret is to find the tiempo justo, which is the secret of life too. Why do we feel we must speed up everything? We can, yes- hurry, and somehow that makes us feel as if we must, but it’s pointless.


For example, playing Mozart at 155 BPM, would be a disaster. Yet, finding the tiempo justo, in music, depending on the room temperature, the location, the acoustics, the spectators, the nature of the occasion, the type of instruments, the musician’s mood, is more an art then a science. Finding the correct playing speed, is harder than it looks.


We declare open the Slow revolution!


The “ less is more” approach cultivates the art of doing nothing. 


Even in education we start raising an unhurried child. Universities inspire students to slow down.


Slowing down, and doing nothing is a crucial part of good thinking. Empty spaces are not vacuum to be filled obligatory. It is that empty space that allows the mind to be rearranged creatively. 


When I allow myself some time for solitude, recreation, and leisure: I’m more likely to sustain intense effort in order to accomplish first rate work.


Slowing down never discouraged me from pursuing extraordinary excellence.


Come on! Hurry up! 


Why exactly? I often ask myself this question. If we don’t hurry up, is the outcome that bad? No? Then why hurry?


Stress brings so many problems: anxiety, eating disorders, depression, insomnia, headaches, upset stomachs, … All the prices we pay for leading stressful lives, and  rushing through our days. 


We have no time to be slow. No time to let our imagination wander, to play, or simply relax. 


We pack our days with work, hobbies, dinners,… Even our kids’ lives are packed, and they soon suffer from the same problems.


I see the kids, on the island, that live more easeful lives, in a slower environment, turn out to be less anxious, they are eager to learn, and they are able to think independently better. 




Children must be thought how to think, not what to think. – Margaret Mead


If slow eating can awaken the pallet, and help the body with digesting better. Slow learning will help the mind widen, and rejuvenate. Learning at a slower pace, really taking time to make the connections, learning how to think, instead of how to pass exams, will generate much better studying, exploring the subjects on a deeper level, and happier standards.


In Japan they call it the sunshine approach to education. Shorter hours, more time for thinking creatively, and increased freedom in the classroom.


What’s the point of driving us so hard, until we burn out? 


Follow your instinct, when you look around, and see all these people running around, how does it make you feel? Are you one of them? 


One day a Breathwork facilitator told me:

“Julie, you are running in front of your body.”


A lot of parents on the island are homeschooling their children. They are allowing them to be slow. Do kids really need all these time tables? 


Or do you think freeing them, letting them learn and live at their own pace, is that healthier? Better? Or worse? Or just different?


I mean, my dad grew up in the bush in Africa, and did Uni at 18 in Brussels, and now one of his scientific experiences is in the space station of ISS, and he is working with Nato…


I on the other hand received all the structure and education above, yet I couldn’t wait to escape to a tropical island. Where time stands still, and we have little or zero impact on the world.


Aren’t both stories totally valid and fine? As long as you are happy with your life. But are we really, or are we constantly criticizing what we have, and don’t have. Instead of just being grateful?


Unstructured play for an adult that is used to fill up every slot in his calendar looks like a waste of time. They miss the entire value of it, being convinced that activity must be entertaining and enriching. Remember the art of doing nothing.


Ready, set, relax!


When I started stopping to rush around like a headless chicken. I still led activities, and my life was interesting. I simply found a stillness that wasn’t there before- I felt calm. For the first time, in a very long time.


Life is just better when it’s slowed down, for children and for adults. We must save our next generation from the cult of speed. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Let’s start by setting a slow example. Let’s diminish our obsession of making every second count, let’s make more time for unstructured play, let’s start learning as a pleasure, with more freedom and fluidity. Let’s reinvent our whole philosophy of childhood.


Often neglecting our family, friends, and partners. It almost feels as if we are pushing our planet, and ourselves into burnout.


Much of what we eat is unhealthy. Cooking, permaculture, meditation, painting, pottery, walking, reading, tai chi, chi kung, knitting, making love, eating dinner at the table instead of in front of tv; are all activities that will inspire you to slow down. Resisting the urge to speed and hurry is free. Adapt the slow philosophy. 


There is not one way to slow down, every single person is different and unique in its own way. Find your own tiempo justo, your speed of life that fits you. 


There are so many movements challenging the cult of speed: the slow movement, tantric sex, slow schooling, the society for the declaration of time, alternative medicine, free- range chicken, pedestrian cities,…


Instead of just swimming at the surface, don’t you feel like sometimes you just want to go deeper into things?


That go-go-never-stop mindset is easily challenged, once you start, you’ll challenge it everywhere. 


Freedom from the never ending speed, relationships and communities that are stronger, a thriving environment, excellent health; are all things that make us happy.


This slow alternative, where people are being treated as valuable assets, instead of disposable units, could make the economy work for us, simply by diminishing burnouts.


One day, I told myself:

“Julie, there is no need to rush, all the time, slow down.”


I started meditating, walking, cooking from scratch, leaving my watch in the drawer, putting my phone deliberately on airplane mode, napping, taking a less is more approach towards my hobbies, …

In Indonesia I learned to be jovial when waiting in line at the shops, since that’s what they do, and I genuinely felt good to let them pass; that when I realised I was truly slowed down. I quit speed reading, and started really enjoying every moment of every book. 

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