Care more. And care less.

Teddy Kelley

To celebrate the release of SLOW in Australia and New Zealand this month, we’re spending the next few Mondays diving in to four central ideas in the book. It’s a way to share some of my favourite parts of SLOW with you, but also a way to say thank you for all your support over the past few years. I know not everyone will be able to get their hands on a copy, and it won’t be out in other parts of the world until next year, so share the love, I say!

In today’s episode Ben and I talk about a notion I first came across while chatting with the delightful Erin Loechner. The importance of both caring more and caring less.

It can be really easy to become overwhelmed as we begin to walk the path of slowing down, with every blog, every podcast, every book telling us different things we need to focus on in order to do life ‘right’. And the hard part is that none of them is wrong. The key is to figure out what matters to you, and what doesn’t, then spend time learning how to care more about the former and less about the latter.

Ben and I talk about our personal take on this duality of caring, and what I call my Barometer of Caring.


Being able to plot out the things I actively care about as opposed to those I don’t has been really helpful when working out how to spend my days. Before I knew what those things were I spent a huge amount of my time working on or worrying about things I really didn’t care about, and far less time on the things that really mattered to me. Using my eulogy and plotting those things out on a piece of paper means I’ve basically flipped the picture and now spend my time on things that are important (to me).

We also talk about how you can learn to care less about the things that don’t matter but that might take up an inordinate amount of time. You can do this by monitoring your inputs. That is, look at the utter BS stories we’re sold via media, social media, TV, shoulds and expectations of others, and ask yourself how you would feel if you cared a little less about those stories.

It’s not an easy task to do, and probably won’t happen quickly, but as always we like to end these Monday shows with something practical for you to take in to your week, and this week it’s this:

Nominate one of those things you want to care less about. It can be really small if you’d like – a TV show or a social media profile you follow but find yourself frustrated by – and actively let it go. Unfollow it, write the idea on a piece of paper and burn it, whatever you need to do to signal to yourself you no longer care so much. And then just see how you feel.

And a quick and massive thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of SLOW over the past few weeks – I can’t tell you just how much it means to me, and I’m stoked that the ideas of slowing down are starting to spread. Here’s to more slow!

Enjoy. xx

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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 2.9 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!

Make second hand normal with Guido Verbist of The Bower

When I was growing up, we never really bought anything much second-hand (except a car). We would happily donate our unwanted or unneeded items to the charity shop every six months, happy that they were out of our hands and happy that maybe someone else would use them, but buying second hand wasn’t usually on our radar.

Not until I became interested in vintage clothes in my early 20s did I ever really consider shopping second hand, and even then it was an exception rather than the rule. I still somehow didn’t consider second hand shopping a viable option for most things, probably because it was less convenient than buying what I needed at a chain store or big department store, and in that, I know I wasn’t alone. In fact, I still think buying second hand is relatively uncommon. There’s still a bit of a stigma attached to buying pre-loved, and the convenience factor is still very much in play, particularly when you look at the ample opportunities for online shopping and almost immediate gratification.

Today’s guest, Guido Verbist from The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre is on a mission to turn this thinking on its head and make buying second hand normal.

If you watched War on Waste, the recent series on the ABC, you may have met Guido already. He’s the Co-op Manager of The Bower, and he’s been doing a huge amount of work over the past few years to reframe the way we think about second hand stuff, as well as empowering each of us to take control of repairing the things we do own.

I sat down to chat with Guido in the workshop room of The Bower’s new Reuse and Repair Centre in Parramatta, and we got to talking about convenience, the stigma of buying pre-owned things, and the lost art of repair.

The Bower aims to help minimise the amount of stuff going to landfill (and to date has stopped more than 1.3 million kilograms of stuff from ending up in the ground) and they do this by:

  • reselling unwanted goods to people who need them
  • fixing items and reselling them to people who need them
  • testing and tagging unwanted electrical items and reselling to people who need them
  • teaching people how to repair their own belongings at regular repair cafes and various workshops
  • working with local councils and encouraging residents to use their services
  • working with refugee and domestic violence services to help those in need establish a new home

This is an organisation making a huge difference across Sydney, and Guido talks openly and honestly about the benefits and challenges of being at the forefront of the reuse and repair movement in Australia, as well as his advice for people who want to set up similar services in their local community.

I personally love the idea of repair, but lack most of the skills needed to fix things. At The Bower, they run over 200 workshops every year teaching regular people the skills involved in repairing their own belongings. Under their guidance, you (and I) can learn to fix the table, reupholster the chair, rewire the DVD player, mend the bike or darn the clothes. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. It feels kind of counter cultural and rebellious and I like it a lot.

Guido and I also talk about the issue of planned obsolescence and how to tell if an item you’re buying can be repaired, or if it’s been designed to be binned once the newer model is released. Attached to this idea is the notion of the circular economy (something I touched on in my recent conversation with Tim Silverwood) and why we need both the grass roots movements, like reuse and repair, AND the big corporations embracing circular design, in order to see large scale, global growth.

Guido is passionate and knowledgable and I walked away from our conversation feeling optimistic about the future. The second hand future, that is!

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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!

Slow Learning – Go informal

Olu Eletu

This is the last one of our slow learning poggies, and it’s all about informal learning. If you’re someone who will spend a long time researching online or taking informal courses (like me – although less so now) this is probably something you can identify a lot with.

An informal learner sees learning everywhere. They like to do it anywhere and at anytime and they’re often heavily focused on using technology as a tool in order for that to happen. There usually isn’t any kind of qualification at the end of this kind of learning, and more often than not it leads the learner in to further research, deeper thinking, or a new direction.

When I first started learning about simplifying life, this was my go-to learning mode. I read endless blogs, books and articles on minimalism, simplicity and the myriad ways to adopt it. I took courses, enrolled in membership programs and listened to podcasts. What I didn’t always do though, was act on it.

And, much like the overwhelm we can often feel when learning collaboratively (as we chatted about last week) this is the biggest drawback of informal learning – lots of information but very little action.

That’s not to say it’s not valuable, because the opposite is true. More and more of us are working in areas where formal qualifications are no longer relevant (or at least as relevant as they used to be) but passion and ambition and skill take precedence. Similarly, this is one of the most accessible ways to learn about non-work related topics, ideas and skills and processes that we use outside of our work, that impact how we live, what we do with our time, our hobbies, our energies.

I think the key takeaway from this four-part series is, as always, about awareness. Be aware of the kind of changes you want to make in life, and be aware of the ways in which you’re learning about them. Do those learning modes work for you? If not, what can you do differently? Can you find some one-on-one coaching to get you through the hardest part? Can you join a community or a class to help tap in to the collective wisdom? Or are you best served just diving deep in to a good book on the topic?

Then, it’s all about the doing. Because it’s in the doing that we learn.

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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!

Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt

Permaculture (it’s more than just gardening!) with Robyn Rosenfeldt - Episode 189 of The Slow Home Podcast

Dixit Motiwala

If you’re anything like me, you probably have heard the term permaculture. And if you’re a little more like me, you may have heard it in terms of gardening, and in particular, growing food. You may understand that it has something to do with tapping in to the natural systems, strengths and partnerships in the plant (and animal) world, and that it’s a method of growing that results in better soil, a more seasonal approach to food production and higher yield. It’s also a bit of a buzz word these days too.

What I’d never really considered before is that the philosophy of permaculture doesn’t stop at food production. In fact, much like slow living, the permaculture philosophy extends to community, connection, family, relationships, business and how we view the world at large. It can impact on where we live and how we live there, as well as the things we own, the money we earn and the way we interact with those around us.

Permaculture hinges on 3 key ideas, all of which can be applied to pretty much every element of life:

  • earth care
  • people care
  • a fair share

In today’s episode I chat with Robyn Rosenfeldt, the founder and editor of Pip Magazine – a magazine dedicated to spreading the ideas of permaculture far and wide. Pip is released three times a year and is packed full of both inspirational articles that dive deep in to permaculture, as well as the super practical information that will help you turn that inspiration in to action.

We chat about the similarities between slow living and permaculture, how Robyn came to discover permaculture, and what led her to make the shift permanently. We also talk about the idea of self-sufficiency, and why permaculture isn’t necessarily going to allow us to be individually self-sufficient, but rather encourages the creation of self-sufficient communities.

This is an idea I really seize upon because so often we’re sold the idea that we should aim for total self-sufficiency, where permaculture admits that doing so would either be impossible, or very not fun. Instead, it encourages us to create connections within our community and begin to use those connections to work towards self-sufficiency.

We also look at what community means and why we sometimes may need to look beyond our neighbourhood to find a tribe of like-minded people.

Robyn has some fantastic suggestions for those of us who want to start on the path to permaculture but don’t have a lot of time, and one of those suggestions is to let go of perfection. Our gardens (or balconies or community plots) don’t need to be Instagram-worthy in order to be productive, and while there’s definitely inspiration to be found in pretty photos, it’s worth remembering that a pretty photo is not the entire picture.

One of her other suggestions is to begin to educate ourselves on our food – where it comes from, what time of year we should be seeing it in supermarkets (and what times of year we shouldn’t – AHEM, nectarines in July!). It’s from this basis of knowledge that we can begin making small, consistent changes and from there springs real and lasting change.

I consider myself so lucky to be able to speak to so many inspiring guests for the poggie, and Robyn is no exception. I love the work she’s doing to spread the ideas of permaculture across the globe, and just as excited to hear that readership of Pip is growing as more and more people jump on board.

Enjoy!

——

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!

Slow Learning – Collaborate

Stephan Wieser

This week we continue our look into the different types of learning and how understanding our personal learning styles will help us develop ways to adopt even more slow-ness and mindfulness to our lives.

Today’s poggie is all about collaboration – probably the most well-known type of learning. I personally identify a lot with this kind of learning (though during today’s episode I stat to wonder whether it’s the most helpful for me!) and think a lot of you will identify with this mode as well.

Collaborative learning is all about collective intelligence. This podcast is a great example of collaborative learning, or learning of one another in order to benefit the whole. I don’t know if I realised it when we started out more than two years ago, but essentially we’re building a community of like-minded people, and it’s one of the most valuable things I’ve ever been a part of. In fact, it’s where I want to focus more of my efforts over the coming months, developing this rad group of people and seeing how we can create a stronger community together.

But I digress! There are so many ways you can tap in to collaborative learning when it comes to slow and simple living. There are:

  • Online forums, chat rooms
  • Facebook groups
  • Mentoring groups (like the one Ben is involved in at the moment)
  • Live calls (like our Patreon monthly catch-ups)

The key here though, as I realise throughout today’s episode, is that if you identify with this type of learning it’s important to acknowledge its limitations. Often I find myself getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available, as well as the breadth of opinions and advice. It can feel completely defeating when there is literally an opinion for every option, so the key is to also apply a little discernment. Find an entry point that works for you and only go looking for additional information as and when you need it, rather than bathing in the infinite pools of opinions online!

It’s also been helpful for me to realise that I sometimes use this tendency towards collaborative learning as a way to procrastinate while still feeling productive. It’s great to understand a lot about a topic before making changes, but it becomes counter-productive when that learning stops us from doing.

And it’s in the doing that we learn.