When I lived in Michigan, each Christmas, a local church just down the road from me put on a drive-by nativity scene. Cars full of people would line up for over half a mile and drive around this circular loop surrounding the church, where church members dressed up and enacted various kinds of nativity scenes. I’m sure from the perspective of the church (who, clearly, invested a lot of time and resources, taking weeks to build the sets in the bitter cold in the time leading up to the event), it was a way to reach people who might otherwise not come through the church doors. This same church also offered “speedy sermons” and other “quick” ways of getting busy people in the door. The idea behind these different initiatives was reaching out to people who were otherwise too busy to come to church–a reasonable and rather creative thing to do, given the time crunch everyone seems to be in these days. But for all that was gained (new members, new donations, etc) what was lost in the process of converting religion into a drive-through experience? Of course, just like the burger at McDonald’s vs. the burger you grill at home with time and care, there are likely some big differences not only in taste but also in presentation, nutrition, and energy.
In my last three posts in “Slowing Down the Druid Way”, we explored the history of time and our relationship to our working hours, and how we might begin to honor our time more fully. This directly leads me to the topic of my final post on time and work: looking at the slow movements as a way of slowing down, making slowing down a conscious choice, and embracing leisure time.
The “Slow” Movements
The term “slow” has been increasingly used to describe many of the movements connected to sustainable living: you might have heard of slow food (as opposed to fast food or industrialized food) or slow money (in terms of investing, saving, and spending and in opposition to current derivatives/investment market). We now also have slow schools, slow books, and even (in my own field) discussion of slow writing! The slow movement has, in fact, been around since the 1980’s; it was started by Carlo Petrini, who protested the opening of the “fast” food joint, McDonalds, in Rome, Italy. Since then, the movement has spread and deepened, connecting now to all aspects of life: travel, food, parenting, education, working, gardening, and more. Of course, you won’t see any discussion of this movement in mainstream culture–mainstream culture, here in the US, is focused on the idea that more and faster is better, and that kind of thinking takes some time to overcome.
The slow movements suggest that we are all the victims of “time poverty” and the slow movements are deliberate attempts by people to live at a reasonable pace (rather than a frantic one). But these movements are more than just about slowing down–they recognize inherently that the faster we move, the fewer connections we make: with ourselves, with each other, with our creative gifts, and with the world as a whole. So let’s now explore some of these slow movements and what they provide.
Nature Spirituality and Slow Spirituality
I’m going to start by introducing my own kind of “slow” movement: slow spirituality. Cultivating a deeper relationship with time is certainly a principle that seems inherent in the druid traditions and in related nature-spiritual traditions. Anyone following the wheel of the year is certainly concerned a tremendous amount with time: the eight holidays on the wheel of the year are all about timing and the sun and it’s slow movement across the sky. The phases of the moon reflect this on a monthly cycle. We focus on the interplay of light and dark, the slow changing of the seasons, the minute changes from day to day of weather patterns. All of this takes observation and interaction with nature and a lot of time dedicated to understanding this larger cycle of the seasons. Sure, there are ways of going about these practices that are “fast”, but moving fast means you miss most of the important pieces. In the AODA, for example, we ask that all members spend weekly time in nature, daily time in meditation, and time just observing and interacting with the world. This time is critical–and it is through these activities that deepest understandings are often cultivated.
In fact, I think part of the reason that so many people are drawn to meditation, ritual and other druid practices is that it offers a way to slow down and change pace. The more time you spend with these practices, the deeper they will go and the richer the rewards will be. There is much room for exploration in linking the slow movements to the druid tradition and key practices within it. […]
Rest of the story at its Source: Slowing Down the Druid Way, Part IV: Slow Movements and Slow Spirituality | The Druid’s Garden