Slowing down and being grateful / by Nelli Arnth

Some thoughts about living a slower live. About being grateful and to be in the search for stillness and depth.

Well, we live in a high-speed society. Some have even named it The Accelerating Society. Productivity is celebrated by many. And while we strive to stuff as many things as possible into our lives it leaves a great amount of people unhappy and with the feeling of running behind on too many parameters of life. In the western world, we have so many opportunities. For me, I ended up running around blindfolded trying to catch all the opportunities. FOMO. Indeed.

Also, our online presence escalates. The Internet and social media offer new fantastic ways to interact and communicate. While I love this world – this online universe (and also made a career out of it) I fear it too. We spend so much time looking at a screen that real presence becomes something rare.

After living years trying to catch up with all the opportunities life gave me, I finally gave up. I felt that life was rushing by – way too fast. And it occurred to me how much I missed stillness and depth. I secretly wanted to let go of all the possibilities and start living a slower life. A life where I wasn't measured by my productivity and how efficient I was. But instead by what kind of person I was. How I cared about and treated others and stuff like that.

I remember one day sitting at my desk at my full-time job and dreaming about going on a train ride for weeks. So that I could just sit still. Sitting on a train seat looking out the window and really just letting time stand still. I even considered to travel to Moskva, Russia to take the Trans-Siberian railway. Then it hit me how stupid it was. I wanted a slower life and my idea of getting that, was to work really hard for maybe a year so I could earn enough money to take 3 weeks’ vacation and travel 2.000 kilometers away. All so I could sit still...

Problem was that I would return to my normal life after these 3 weeks and it would all be the same. It was a stupid and short-termed solution.

I thought about it for a year. Talked a lot with my husband, friends and family. And in the end, it led me to quitting my full-time job. We moved out of the city and into an old farm house near the Danish West Coast. In the same area where I grew up and in the very same house where my grandparents and great-grandparents had lived.

I started my own small creative studio. And we decided to step out of the hamster wheel and quit this high-speed society. I was fed up. I promised myself that I wouldn't keep telling friends and family that I was SO busy all the time. If you are too busy to see the people you care the most about, are your priorities right then?

So, I stopped filling my calendar with appointments. I wanted time for slow mornings with good coffee. Time to run around barefoot nursing the vegetable garden, enjoying the feeling of warm soil between my toes. And time to lay in the hammock on a sunny day enjoying a good novel.

I focus on being grateful. I am very aware of how lucky I am in life:

  • That the people I love are healthy and healthy
  • That I have a cozy home where I can take a varm shower and lay in a soft bed
  • That I live in a democratic society with a strong social safety net
  • That every day I combine my passion with my working life
  • That I am surrounded by a lovely garden and some raw and stunning nature
  • That I am part of a strong local community
  • That I have no alarm clock and just wake up whenever I feel rested
  • That I have enough money to buy healthy food and even travel to new countries now and then

These are truths I tell myself every day. And I encourage the people around me to make their own list of things they are grateful for.

Oh, this is getting long already... I will end it with this statement:

Live happens here and now. 

So why spend your time rushing through life? Waiting for summer? Or weekend? Or
Why not slow down and enjoy the ride on this amazing planet.

Sit down.
Close your eyes.



The credit for these amazing images: Camilla Jørvad – a great source of inspiration for me.Go check out her site. And don't forget to read her journal.