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How to make a difference

When we look around and see the myriad environmental crises facing the world it can be easy to slip in to despair, as we wonder, “What difference can I make? I’m only one person.”

In today’s episode we meet Georgi, who has made massive strides in changing the way she lives as an individual but is now looking at the bigger picture and wants to know:

“What are some bigger things I can do, outside my own home, to make a real impact?”

What follows is a really wide-ranging chat where Georgi and I look at both the highly practical changes we can make in our personal attempts to live a more sustainable life, as well as the broader issue of how to work out what we have to offer our community and how to begin delivering it.

A big part of this conversation is about acknowledging that we, as individuals, cannot fix every problem, and to constantly berate ourselves about that fact is a disservice to what we can offer. Georgi and I use this as a jumping off point to talk about the importance of hope and vision – of taking the time to visualise a better version of our community – and to use that as motivation for change.

We also look at the different ways we can make change in our communities. We can, of course, create new programs or services or conversations ourselves, but we can also lend our skills and gifts to those that already exist by way of financial support, volunteering, facilitation and spreading the word. Community isn’t just a place or a group of people, it’s also a way of connecting with those around us and coming together for a common purpose – we don’t need to go it alone.

After farewelling Georgi (hopefully armed with a whole heap of questions and ideas that will help bring her clarity on what comes next), I’m joined by another wonderful special guest. This week it’s Sarah Wilson, author of First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, who talks about the importance of starting where you are and using what you’ve got in order to make change.

We also talk about the current duality of online communities (ie you’re either with us or against us) and the problem with imagining that same division to be present in to our day-to-day conversations. Sarah also brings up the importance of hope, and reminds us that while our individual voice might not feel like it matters much, change can only happen when we join our voice to those around us to make a noisy, beautiful chorus.

Enjoy!

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

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As always, thank you for listening!

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Can slow living make us lonely?

Slow living has changed my life for the better in so many different ways, and somewhat surprisingly, one of the major benefits I’ve experienced from learning to slow down is stronger relationships.

On the whole I’m able to be more present and emotionally available to my family, I’m a better listener, and when I’m spending time with people I care about I try to show all the way up. (That I even know what it feels like to show all the way up is a huge shift from the frazzled and distracted person I used to be).

Over the past few years slow living has also helped me form new friendships, albeit slowly. Where Past Brooke allowed comparison or negative self-talk get in the way of real connection, I now have a handful of tools that I use to meet new people and to (usually) help me move through the awkwardness that is making friends as an adult.

As an introvert I’m by no means a fan of networking events or small talk, but I have developed a self-awareness that helps a lot. So when I received an email from today’s guest, the lovely and open-hearted Nancy, I knew this needed to be a conversation we had together on the podcast.

Nancy has recently moved from the UK to Kuala Lumpur with her family, and is afraid that her introversion, combined with her desire to live a ‘slow life’ is holding her back from making friends.

I could see a LOT of me in Nancy’s question, and we have a fantastic conversation about why we struggle with connection and what relationship that struggle has to deeper issues of self-worth, guilt and shame.

I share some of the practical techniques I’ve used over the past six months of living in a new place that have helped me slowly find and connect with like-minded people, even on those days where going out to meet new people feels too much.

To bring another perspective in to the conversation, I also wanted to bring in my friend Cait Flanders, and she joins me in the second half of the episode. Cait and I talk about making friends online, the importance of getting comfortable with awkwardness and letting go of expectations when meeting new people.

This is a really warm, honest and reflective conversation that I absolutely loved. Nancy showed all the way up for it, and we’re all rewarded with an honest chat about making friends as an adult, with some additional insights given for those of us who are on the more introverted side of the spectrum.

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!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

As always, thank you for listening!

Does slow living rob us of ambition?

Welcome to Season 4 of the poggie!

As we spoke about in the sneak peek episode a couple of weeks ago, this season sees a pretty significant shake-up to the podcast format and I can’t wait to dive in to it with you.

We start with a question from Kate, who wants to know whether slow living and some of its adjacent elements – mindfulness, self-care, noticing, increased peace and patience – can actually rob us of ambition.

Kate is an author (an exceptionally brilliant author – you’ve probably heard me sing the praises of her debut novel Skylarking on the podcast before) who also has a passion for teaching and podcasting. Kate fears that if she slows down enough to focus solely on her writing, she’d be robbing herself of the opportunity to not only do some of the things that fill her up, but also to live on the ‘edges of life’, where so many of the highs and lows are experienced and, as a result, seeds of ideas for her books are harvested.

Can I tell you – recording this episode was such a treat for me. Not only did I get to have a conversation with the author of one of my favourite books of the past few years (I think about the characters and setting of Skylarking a LOT), but we also get to go deep in to fear, mental health, the importance of looking at our intentions when taking (or not taking) certain actions, and the stories we tell ourselves about pain and discomfort and creativity. It’s a great conversation and I can’t wait for you to hear it.

The second half of the episode features a chat with the delightful Tsh Oxenreider – who is also an author, teacher, podcaster and wearer of many and varied hats, just like Kate. Tsh and I discuss Kate’s questions and the constant recalibration of life’s priorities and joys, and we also talk about the important process of getting to know oneself – why we do things, why we struggle with other things, what our strengths and weaknesses and preferences are.

I’m so glad to be back in the podcasting seat, and hope you enjoy this episode as a taster of things to come this season.

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:

As always, thank you for listening!

Love Slow? Support the show!

On settling, slowness and fitting out a new house: A Hostful

“On your slow journey don’t forget to give yourself permission to fail…in a fast paced world.”

Ben McAlary

Hostful formation: engage!

Before we get in to today’s episode (the last of Season 3 and how did that happen?) and all the juicy listener questions you sent in, this poggie begins on a bittersweet note as we bid a very fond farewell to two team members who have played an integral role on the poggie and general Slow Home activities over the past few years.

Ryan, our audio engineer/producer extraordinaire, who has been with us for three years, moves on to a great role in the Australian podcast community and Steph our ‘right hand woman’ and social media guru, is going back to study full-time. To both: we salute you, are grateful for how much you’ve helped this podcast and community grow and improve over the years, and we love your guts.

Once we wipe away our tears and (literally) play Steph and Ryan off in to the sunset, we dive head-first in to your terrific listener questions. These include:  

  • Apart from people, what do you most miss about Canada and the US? And what are you most glad to have in Australia?
  • Is it easier to live slower in Australia or in the US/Canada?
  • What are you finding challenging in regards to slow living, and what are you doing in response?
  • What area did you decide to buy and live in, and why did you chose that area?
  • Were you ever nervous about not being close to the city, not being close to family and instead living in a rural area?
  • Are you living mortgage free?
  • Is there a slow way to manage money?
  • Slow aspirations versus fast career path advice please?
  • What is your ultimate ’slow’ date night? 
  • How have you gone re-buying things for the house? Slowly or all at once? 
  • Have you bought things you gave away when you left for your trip? 
  • What made Ben choose to go to therapy? 
  • What are your favourite books of 2019? 
  • Is Brooke currently writing a book?
  • What poggies are you currently listening to? 
  • When will the next season of the podcast start? 

As always, we do our best to answer these as honestly as possible (if not always, or ever, briefly) and appreciate having a community of listeners who want to dig in to what it really means to live a slower life. Thank you so much for turning up not only in asking these questions, but for this entire season. It’s been wonderful to see how many people have enjoyed our look at slow living from seven very different perspectives and we can’t wait to bring you Season 4.

We don’t want to give too much away, but next season of the pogpast will be very different, as we continue to experiment and try to provide you, our listeners, with practical tips on how to live a slower, more intentional life. But we can tell you that Season 4 will be in your poggie feed in late October. 

Until then… take it slow friends. xx

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:

As always, thank you for listening!

Love Slow? Support the show!

Beth Kempton on the slow way of wabi sabi

Image via Holly Bobbins

“The wisdom we need now is buried in history.”

Beth Kempton

There are so many things I’ve loved about this season of the poggie. The guests, the hostful questions we’ve received (more on those next week), the way each episode has been infused with hope and positivity.

I’ve also loved that this season has been an exploration of slow living through a variety of different lenses, looking at what constitutes ‘slow’ from new perspectives.

Today’s episode, the second-last of the season, is no different as I chat with author and Japanologist Beth Kempton about slow living through the lens of Japanese culture. Or more specifically, through the lens of wabi sabi.

Complex to define, wabi sabi is an exploration of acceptance and contentment. An acknowledgement of the true nature of life and as such is a really powerful way of shifting our worldview.

Beth introduces me to the complex nature of wabi sabi and we discuss how the idea of perfect imperfection can impact the way we purchase and consume things, the way we connect with people and the environment around us, and how it’s a welcome respite in a world that calls us to constant comparison and competition.

We also discuss whether wabi sabi, or any personal philosophy really, has the power to change the world, as well as the beauty of creating and honouring pockets and rituals of slowness in a busy life.

We talk about our favourite experiences from our time spent in Japan and I can’t help but talk about the joyful time I’ve spent in onsens with my daughter. I know I’ve spoken about it on the podcast before, but onsening has had such a lovely impact on my life, both in terms of the ritual of bathing and being intentional throughout what is often treated as a mundane part of life, but also the acceptance of self that comes with the experience. It’s truly been one of the best discoveries of my life.

This ties in to wabi sabi in a way I hadn’t expected, because (from my very limited understanding) wabi sabi seems to offer self-compassion and grace where I’ve previously had self-loathing and discomfort. And if we’re in need of anything right now – in a world that profits off our comparing and competing – it’s probably a little more self-compassion and grace.

Enjoy!

Questions featured in this episode: 

  • What is wabi sabi?
  • Wabi sabi is the opposite to many of the things harming people and planet – mass consumption, convenience, keeping up with the Joneses etc. Do you think it has the power to change the world?
  • You write that wabi sabi helps us to seek meaning beyond materialism. How does it do that?
  • Do you think that contentment – as opposed to outright brilliant happiness – is something worth striving for?
  • What are some small rituals that we can adopt in to our lives now that help us to bend and stretch time, slowing it down and making it feel abundant?

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:

As always, thank you for listening!

Love Slow? Support the show!