Category Archives: People

How can you get your family on board with a slower life? How do we engage with our community and make a difference in the world? How can we better spend our time with family and friends? And why does it matter?

Slow Holidays: Our Christmas Traditions

Jerry Kiesewetter

While it’s still almost one month til Christmas, the craziness/silliness/festiveness has well and truly begun. This is the last episode in our Slow Holidays Monday series, and in the spirit of trying to find pockets of slow in these full and exciting weeks, today we talk about the importance of holiday traditions.

I’m a big, big advocate for traditions and growing up was always the one adamantly enforcing merriment and light-hunting with my family. And while Ben and I both agree that traditions are really important, especially at this time of year, we do have some, uh, differing views on what is a good tradition and what is not. Either way, we both acknowledge that traditions change and evolve over time, and that there’s no need to stick to something that doesn’t serve us.

Ben challenges me about a couple of our holiday traditions (getting a real Christmas tree every year and decorating the house with what he terms “clutter”, much to my dismay) and asks if those traditions still align to our values. I don’t necessarily see the same issues that he does, and absolutely love the tradition of hanging out with our kids on the first weekend in December, going to get a tree and listening to The Beach Boys while decorating. I get what he’s saying, but to me it’s more about the time spent together and the joy in the doing rather than the tree or decorations themselves.

This week’s action? Look at what you do at this time of year and the traditions you love, and why you love them. See if there are any traditions that need to evolve and start having those conversations. What small shifts can you start to make to ensure your traditions sit comfortably with your values? And most importantly, don’t forget to embrace the fun and soften into the season!

PS Keep listening all the way to the end for some blooper shenanigans.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

Slow Holidays: Presence Over Presents

Tim Mossholder

In today’s episode I ask the potentially Grinch-like question of, “Why do we feel so hell-bent on showing our love with stuff?”

And while, as we’ve already discussed in Episode 210, Ben and I still give gifts to our kids and have no real problem in doing so, I do find myself wondering why the act of giving physical goods is now equated with love. There is undoubtedly a lot more at play than our desire to buy, buy, buy, and in this episode we talk about ways we can begin to shift our focus away from purchasing and towards investing in our relationships.

We talk about the emotional connection we feel to the act of giving, and the fact that it can sometimes come down to feelings of guilt or obligation. That if we haven’t been there for a loved one throughout the year, we might feel pressure to give them a whizz-bang gift come Christmas time to show them we really do care.

But if you flip it and reverse it, and start with time, maybe there’s another way. For me, slow living means more time for the people in my life, and investing in relationships.

At a recent event in Tamworth I spoke with a woman who had taken this idea of investing in her relationships to the next level and found it so incredibly inspiring. Ben and I talk about this, as well as the long-lasting impact of prioritising our relationships ahead of the short-lived and often transactional nature of giving physical stuff.

The most common reason we give for wanting to buy gifts is to show love, but there are other ways to show that same love. We can give our presence, our time, our energy to people, and we can choose to turn up for them year-round rather than just once. So Ben and I also talk about setting up rituals with people we love, and even go so far as suggesting a year-round subscription… to you. (No guarantees on whether this will impress people or not though!)

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.


Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 3 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

On boundaries, compromise and communication

On boundaries, compromise and communication - Episode 183 of The Slow Home Podcast

Annie Spratt

This will probably come as a surprise to exactly no-one, but I used to really over-complicate things (and sometimes still do). I would over-engineer solutions and spend huge amounts of time trying to get right down deep in to the specific thoughts, behaviours or actions that were causing problems. And while I believe we sometimes need to ruminate on things for a while before clarity comes knocking, other times I think we just need to simplify.

It’s always fascinating to me that I arrive back at the same handful of answers whenever I question the way I’m living life. No matter how varied the issues or problems seem, the answers I come back to are usually a variation on only a handful of ideas:

  • create and respect boundaries
  • we don’t exist in a vacuum and relationships are about compromise, empathy and flexibility
  • we need to take responsibility for our own choices and actions
  • figure out what your priorities are and put them in the centre of your life – every day
  • communication is important
  • being an example is one of the most persuasive forms of communication (but not the fastest!)

In today’s hostful episode, Ben and I inadvertently strike upon most of these ideas in answering your questions, and it was a great reminder to me that so many of our problems can be solved by softening, accepting, simplifying and prioritising.

The questions you’ve submitted for this month’s hostful are insightful and challenging, which is something I always look forward to, and Ben and I try our best to answer them:

  • How do we manage different personality types within the family (introvert v extrovert, the needs of solitude v constant companionship, etc)?
  • How do you adjust to things being out of control / out of what you had planned? And how do you regain calm / slow when life takes over?
  • What to do when one of your kids is a hoarder and leaves their many belongings all over the house?
  • What do you grow in your garden and what are your best tips for a serial plant killer?
  • What sorts of mindful exercise do you enjoy (aside from yoga and hiking?)
  • What are you reading/listening to? And what do you enjoy reading aloud to your children?

There is a lot of talk about acceptance and softening in to discomfort in today’s episode, and I think it’s a really important part of learning to live more mindfully, more slowly and more presently. Life is uncomfortable and so much of it is out of our control, and I’ve personally found that by allowing myself to feel that discomfort, the tension actually diminishes more quickly than it would if I was trying to fight it.

That’s not to say it’s easy, of course, but I do think this idea of “feel your feelings” is very worthwhile.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2.8 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs. We’re also hosting a live monthly video call exclusive to our Patreon supporters, and you can find all the info on those calls over on our Patreon page.

Most importantly though, thanks for being here!

Do men and women do simplicity differently?

Do men and women do simplicity differently? Episode 182 of The Slow Home Podcast

A few weeks ago I was part of a really interesting conversation on Twitter, where a handful of people were talking about the fact that most popular minimalism writers are male. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t noticed this trend and Ben and I have often talked about why it might be the case.

It’s true that I don’t often talk about minimalism as such anymore, and I’ve spoken about the reasons why a few times on the poggie. But there are so many parallels between slow living and minimalism, and many of the key tenets of both movements are the same. So while I wouldn’t call myself a minimalism writer, I think it’s safe to say I work in the same sphere.

Which goes back to the question of why I think the majority of popular minimalism writers are male (at least in terms of best-selling books on Amazon). For me (and it’s important to to note that these are all in my personal experience) I think there are a few reasons:

  • confidence
  • fear of judgement
  • learning style
  • teaching style
  • perspective
  • the kind of problems we’re trying to solve

Confidence and fear of judgement: I add a million qualifiers to my writing before giving my opinion or point of view because I’m nervous of being called out for being judgemental or ignorant of others’ circumstances. So I include lots of options, lots of disclaimers, lots of clauses as to why my words may not reflect your reality. In turn, this makes my writing less punchy. There are fewer pronouncements. Fewer hard and fast rules. I’m OK with that, and it’s not a criticism, but it is something I’ve observed. I’ve also noticed a lot of male writers don’t do this. Their opinions or advice are laid out squarely on the page, and as a reader we’re free to take from it what we want.

Learning and teaching styles: We learn and teach in myriad different ways, and I think that also impacts the way we write about a particular issue. For example, I like to offer questions to readers, and lead them towards their own answers and solutions, as opposed to offering a readymade one. I don’t often provide a one-size-fits-all solution because in my experience, they very rarely do fit all. Again, neither approach is wrong or right. But again, one makes for punchier, more confident writing while the other is softer and more open to interpretation.

Perspective and the kinds of problems we’re trying to solve: This is probably the most stereotypical, broad brushstroke answer I have but I do think there is a lot of truth to it. Women are often looking for practical advice on specific issues – how to create a simple wardrobe or a rhythm to their mornings, for example. As a result, women often write about these kinds of problems. Men, on the other hand, are often looking at things from a 50,000 foot view. They’re looking for big solutions to life-wide issues and as a result, write about things from that perspective. In general, these 50,000-foot view pieces of writing are more inspiring, more aspirational, more likely to attract attention. And that’s not to say there isn’t value in both the very specific practicalities and the big pronouncements on living a good life. In fact, they’re both really important – without a balance we’re either going to get stuck in the details or never actually get down to them at all – but again, one kind of writing makes for more popular content than the other.

I’m not entirely sure what we were hoping to bring about in the conclusion of today’s episode, other than to hopefully allow ourselves to consider simplifying from a broader range of perspectives. I think it’s important to look at it as an opportunity to shift every area of life, and having a wider sphere of influence can help us do just that.

I know my reading takes in the entire range of opinions and voices in the simple living sphere – the masculine, feminine and everything that falls on the spectrum between and I’ve learnt so much from all of them. As always I think a balance is the key, as well as an awareness of your own needs and an intention to go in the direction required rather than any desire to stick to the ‘popular’ writers in the space.

As Fleetwood Mac says: go your own way.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this too – do you think men and women approach simplicity, and learn about it, in different ways?

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2.7 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

 

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward - Episode 167 of The Slow Home Podcast

The thing that struck me immediately upon reading Helen Hayward’s blog and books is the way she writes about seemingly small things with such depth and attention to detail. Her words are so intentional, I couldn’t help but feel the carefully considered weight of each and every one of them.

And while her most recent book, A Slow Childhood: Notes on Thoughtful Parenting is, obviously, about parenting and raising a family in a very slow and considered way, so much of what Helen and I speak about in today’s poggie applies well beyond motherhood and parenting in general. We talk a lot about what it means to live an examined life, and why, as we’ve both discovered over the past years, those little things really are the big things in life.

One of the most common questions I’m asked, and can rarely answer with any kind of surety, is how to get (or keep) older kids on board with a slower pace of life. And while Helen’s two kids (17 and 20) have grown up with slow-ness at the centre of family life, Helen talks at length about the benefits of that, which I really enjoy digging in to.

Helen and I also talk about one of my favourite bug-bears: the myth of work-life balance and why she’s not even sure that long-term balance is a possibility, but rather requires an endless process of tilting – always in to one thing and away from another. To be honest, it’s pretty rare to talk to someone so willing to admit that balance is not only elusive, but often damaging to pursue, and I found myself wonderfully disarmed chatting with Helen!

I hope you enjoy the episode.

This week’s poggie is sponsored by our friends at ettitude – makers of ethical, organic bamboo bed linen (and now pyjamas!). Head over to http://www.ettitude.com.au/slowhome and use the code “sleepbetter” to get 10% off your first order.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2.3 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!