Slowing Down and Savoring

More and more I've felt pulled to S-L-O-W  D-O-W-N.

So often I'm rushing around, not fully present. I want to fit everything in my days but sometimes it's just not possible. When one thing gets left out, I end up behind. It's hard to catch up and yet, I still feel the need to slow down.

maple seeds, watercolor, watercolor painting, watercolor maple seeds, botanical watercolor, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Do you feel this way, too?

A couple weeks ago I talked about swapping flow for balance. I've been following the flow, but things still need to get done that aren't part of its inspiration or energy. Is there a way to weave the "need to do" with the "want to do". Am I still striving for that unattainable balance?

A few years ago I had a month-long feature on my blog called Savor Summer. In the post where I introduced the idea I wrote:

"Last summer went by in a blur and then the winter months seemed to creep along. I don't want that to happen again this year."

I feel the same way today.

garden, petunias, tree stump, gardening with a tree stump, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This past winter was interminable. I want the summer to be nice and slow to spread out in front of me past the edge of the horizon.

Yet I'm already struggling. Struggling with the urge to fill my every moment. Struggling with the urge to be productive. Struggling with disappointment in my slow progress on my most recent painting project.

peonies, watercolor, painting process, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

There's not a trick, or an easy answer. Slowing down, stilling my thoughts and myself takes conscious work.

Last night I taught my first ever in-person painting class. I really enjoyed it, but I want to figure out a better way of helping everyone who needs it as they work on different exercises at different paces (we have three more weeks of class for me to iron it out). Last night as I zoomed around the room I saw that one man was finished with the first exercise before everyone else. I told him I'd be back in a moment to help him get started on the next one. His response struck a chord with me. He said something like, don't worry about me, I'm just sitting here Zen-ing out.

How often do I just sit there Zen-ing out? How often do you?

garden, roses, Above and Beyond Rose, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When I'm finished with one task I fly to the next one. Sometimes I'm already mentally on to the next task before I've even finished with the first one. I've noticed it with my journaling practice, which has, sadly, been neglected lately. Writing in my journal should be a time of meditation and stillness. A time to be present and aware of what I'm feeling. Lately it's been more like perfunctory scribbling.

It all goes back to a need to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Be present. Be focused. Do one thing at a time. Perhaps I won't be able to get everything done, but I'll be more productive. And I'll be happier, too.

garden, roses, Above and Beyond Rose, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When I posted on Instagram yesterday and mentioned the tension between wanting to slow down and feeling as if I'm falling behind, quite a few people mentioned similar feelings. You, too?

I don't know if I have the answer, other than recognizing it will take some work. I think it might always be a struggle, but being aware helps. Making myself a schedule (and sticking to it) helps. Taking time out to breathe helps. Getting back to a daily, intentional journal practice* helps.

journaling, Lisa Estabrook, Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle Deck, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

What about you? Are you managing to take things slow?

*It had been ages since I journaled with Lisa Estabrook's Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle Deck. The card I picked yesterday? Columbine -- Abundance. Part of its advice: "go with the flow, with what feels right". Just what I needed to hear.


  1. I am going slow at the moment but not intentionally. I have so much to do, tidy up, maintain etc but my brain has said no. I am seeing this as an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate my life and the things I do. I don't want to 'waste' any more time.

    It must have been exciting (if not a little nerve racking) to have taught a painting class 'in person.' With regards to people who finish up quickly; could you have an exercise they could be doing while waiting for the rest of the class?

    Your roses are stunning Anne. No wonder you feel inspired to paint them. Have a lovely 'slow' weekend! :)

    1. It sounds like you are going with the flow, Simone, whether intentional or not. Our unconscious minds, our bodies, our spirits know what's right for us. Tapping into that wisdom, our intuition is important and it sounds like you're doing just that.

      Teaching the class was exciting. It's wonderful to share something I love with other people. Thanks for your suggestion.

      Every bit of my garden is inspiring me right now (though today is cold and wet). I hope your garden is bringing you joy, too.



Post a Comment