“Trying to control our thoughts is like trying to put a meteor out with a garden hose.”
No doubt we’ve all heard about the transformative power of meditation, but is it possible to access that power when uncertainty, stress and living through a pandemic make it difficult to simply sit still and breathe? (I’m asking for a friend ;)
In today’s episode I’m joined by friend of the show, friend of the Slow Beginnings retreat and founder of Centred Meditation, Kevin Janks, and we have a wonderful chat about the power of meditation – particularly in challenging times.
Meditation allows us to decompress from ‘fight or flight’ mode and as Kevin explains, the time investment doesn’t need to be excessive. (Research has found that meditating for as little as 12 minutes a day can have a substantial impact on our well-being and mental health over the course of just three weeks).
Over the past couple of months I’ve really found myself grappling with the issue of control within what is ultimately an uncontrollable situation, so Kevin and I dig in to that too. He shares how meditation can be used to shift our perception of control, and by doing so, release us from the stress of trying to manipulate circumstances we have no control over. (It’s really helpful, I promise!)
We also talk about the ways in which meditation allows us to accept our current circumstances – not in order to accept and give up, but in order to accept the way things are in that moment and move on.
There’s so much to be learnt from meditation, particularly during such stressful times, and this conversation with Kevin is full of tools and takeaways that will hopefully help you. I hope you enjoy it!
“The roots of self-care was born in underserved communities that recognised that no-one else was going to care for them.”
Today’s episode is another one we recorded PP (pre-pandemic – more on that below), but just like last week’s chat about technology, it’s a pretty timely conversation. Ben and I dive deep in to self-care, a movement that’s been commodified and stripped of its true intention over recent years, but that is going to prove incredibly powerful for all of us over the coming months of uncertainty and challenge.
Slow living and self-care have kind of become synonymous in the mainstream, featuring a lot on Instagram and in books and blogs and magazines. There is undoubtedly a lot of crossover between the two, but there is also a lot of consumerism and privilege tied up in the modern-day vision of self-care. We kick today’s show off with my thoughts on that, as well as a brief look at the roots of the self-care movement and why it has very little to do with face masks.
Ben and I then talk about what we each think self-care is, how it applies in our lives and why it’s so important. We also talk about:
The origins of self-care as a movement and how society defines self-care now
What it means to advocate for yourself
How we each manage self-care
Where the words ‘want’ versus ‘need’ fit into self-care
How important exercise is within our own self-care
The enemies of self-care
What self-care looks like for us in practical terms
The second half of the episode features our Season 4 friend of the show, Amy, and we follow up on her waste-reduction efforts in beautiful rural Maine. Amy shares how she’s taken on board a lot of the changes and experiments we discussed in our last chat, including some composting ideas (and what she learnt attending a composting conference!), and the ways she’s finding balance between working from home and spending time with her family.
I really hope you enjoy this episode, as I think there’s a lot in it that will be helpful in our current challenges.
Also just wanted to let you know that following lots of listener requests, the final couple of episodes of Season 5 will feature more discussion about the Coronavirus pandemic as well as a lot of practical talk about home schooling, working from home and managing anxiety amidst massive disruptions to normal life. We’re also working on a few other projects, as well as Season 6, which I hope will bring some more light and practical advice to your ears over the coming weeks and months.
Can you live slow if
you’re someone who enjoys being busy? What if you’re a Type A, go-getter? Or someone
who prides themselves on setting goals and kicking them every single time?
In today’s episode (the second-last of the season!) I chat with Elisa, who has spent the past year shedding many layers and self-beliefs, but now finds herself stuck on how to distil the myriad ideas she’s absorbed in to real, lasting change – without reverting to living fast.
It’s a curious
tension, this desire to slow down while also feeling the need speed up in order
to do so, and Elisa isn’t alone in wanting it. She and I talk a lot about my
belief that slow and fast don’t need to be mutually exclusive, as well as the
question of whether ‘slow’ is even the right word to move forward with.
Elisa shares the catalyst for making changes in her life before we dig in to the big questions of values and personal identity. As a mum who is just emerging from the parenting very young children phase, Elisa also spends some time exploring the underlying motivations that might be driving her desire to be constantly busy.
I talk about finding contentment in the now, no matter how imperfect, before we’re joined by none other than goals coach extraordinaire, Jacki Carr. We have a very juicy discussion on how to uncover our personal values and design our legacy, and Jacki (a self-confessed go-getter and serial goal kicker) has some incredible suggestions for Elisa to find pockets of slow intention in even the busiest of days. We also talk about how Jacki has reclaimed space for herself amidst the work of parenting, working and living a values-aligned life.
We’ll be back next week with a final hostful for the year, but until then, enjoy!
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
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.
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?
“Life’s too short to worry about the size of your thighs or the calories in a latte.”
Is there a link between the rise in consumerism, the endless advertising messages that assault us thousands of times a day and the increase in body image issues? According to today’s guest, the answer is a resounding yes.
I’m so excited to bring you today’s episode because it brings yet another perspective to this season’s conversations on what it is to live a slower life and the myriad ways we can apply the ideas of slow.
Today I chat with Kali Gray, a body confidence expert and a “non diet” dietician who focuses her work on helping people heal their relationship with their bodies and their food.
In this episode we discuss the the relationship between food security and body image issues, while also looking at the crossover between my work in slow living and Kali’s work in reframing our perspective on food, self-care, self-worth and the food we eat.
So much of what Kali teaches is centred on self-compassion and self-care, and how those things can help us to heal those relationships, which is where I think it most closely links with slow living. In order to learn self-compassion and self-care (particularly in a world that profits from our self-loathing) we first need to slow down and pay attention.
Pay attention to the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies and the role food has in our lives, pay attention to the way media messaging, advertising and social media are keeping us in a negative relationship with ourselves, and pay attention to how we feel when we start making changes to our thoughts, habits and actions.
Kali also turns the interview tables around on me towards the end of the episode, which sparks a conversation on how all of these changes take time, and no matter how well-versed we are in consumerism, health, wellness, body image and food, there’s always going to be part of us that requires a little extra love and empathy.
Questions featured in this episode:
Why do you
think so many of us have a broken relationship with food and our bodies?
and consumerism are both linked to our dissatisfaction with ourselves and our
bodies. How do you encourage people to recognise that and make changes so that
we get to decide what is good and right for us individually?
counter-cultural to teach and encourage people to love themselves and accept
themselves as they are, particularly in the face of a society that teaches us
to find fault in our bodies from a very young age. Is that something that comes
naturally to you?
We both encourage
people to ask the question WHY? Why do we do what we do? Why do we buy what we
buy? Why do we eat what we eat? Do you find that once we begin to uncover that
why, it becomes simpler to start making changes?
process, this asking why and digging deep is uncomfortable. How do you
encourage people to accept that this is outside their comfort zone and move
You highlight mindful eating as a way to begin to
heal our relationship with food, but what actually is it to eat more mindfully?
How can we
begin to eat more mindfully? What’s the first step?
this beautiful undercurrent of awe in all you do, and that means you frame your
work in the idea that every body, right now, as it is, is a miracle. What is
the reaction from people when you ask them to pay attention to the miracle of
their body? Particularly if they have grown up not knowing how to like their
have no issues with accepting their bodies as they are, but as they get closer
to puberty this changes, and suddenly they’re seeing all that’s wrong with
them. Why do you think this happens?
we do to help ourselves and our kids move through that?