What is a Slow Life?

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#slowlife

I recently saw this hashtag on Instagram and a photo that embodied it. Since then, I’ve been on a big kick to figure out what it means. Here’s a succinct, beautiful description:

“Most of us today are consumed with speed. We work quickly, play quickly, love quickly – all while multi-tasking. We drive in the fast lane and eat fast food. We text instead of talk, pursue quantity instead of quality, and swallow life whole instead of taking the time to savor it.

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All this speed takes a toll. Our relationships suffer. Our productivity suffers. Our finances suffer. And our health, both mental and physical, suffers.
The antidote is to slow down. Yet with so much speed embedded in our DNA, slowing down can be a real challenge.

The very word has negative connotations. When we think of slow we typically think that someone is dumb, or that we are falling behind.

But in the context of how we live our lives, slow can save us.

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Carl Honoré, whom the Huffington Post calls the godfather of the Slow movement, says, “the central tenet of the slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more.”

So slow isn’t dumb, it’s purposeful. And slow won’t cause you to fall behind, it will allow you to catch up – with your friends, your family, your digestive system.

A slow life restores balance. Some things we do want to do quickly, but not everything. Ride your bike. Take a walk. Hell, stay home.

In a slow life you will pursue mastery in your work. Gaining comprehensive knowledge and expert skill will become more meaningful than mindlessly climbing a ladder.

Likewise, your work will not define who you are. Granted it’s a significant part, but only a part. Your character is more important.

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In a slow life you will gather with your friends and family and laugh, cry, hug, cheer, and simply be there for one another. You will listen as earnestly as you speak. Your relationships will come to mean more to you than your job.

In a slow life you will focus on food. You will value its cultivation and preparation as much as you relish the meal. When you think of food you will automatically think of friendship, rather than associate it with something fast.

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In a slow life you will choose a home and a community that nurtures you and your lifestyle. Quality and comfort will become the touchstone of your physical surroundings.

In a slow life time will become circular, rather than linear. As opposed to a simple unit of measurement, the concept of time will expand for you as anxiety turns to joy.

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A slow life is a simple – though it need not be a spartan – life. The quality of the “things” in your life will come to mean so much more than the quantity. Clutter means chaos.

A slow life is more healthy, more jubilant, and more compassionate. It is less stressful, less taxing, and less harmful.

A slow life is a better life.”

-Duncan Hurd

The central tenet of the slow philosophy is taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more. 

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“Idea Sex”- Mastering the Intersection

I’ve said before how I love James Altucher‘s thought process–even if it is off-grid, cryptic, or unsavory to listen to (his personal stories and insights are painfully hard-earned). He is an Idea Machine. Here’s one that is so super fun I had to write it out:

Making your ideas have sex. “Idea Sex.” Here’s Altucher:

“Stan Weston had an idea that would change the lives of little boys forever. He knew that girls liked to play with dolls. But boys had no dolls to play with. Boys liked guns and action. Dolls + Action == ??He made a doll based on a soldier, gave it a plastic gun, and called it an “action figure”. He named it GI Joe. Stan Weston didn’t come up with the newest newest new thing. All he did was combine the simplest concepts and made something that millions of kids loved. ‘The best way to make a living with your imagination is to develop innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.’”

That’s it. Make two lists of what people love. Combine them. Have fun. The best ideas always come from mating. Think of Hollywood. When they pitch an idea its never just “I have this idea”. Its always “It’s “Tarzan” meets “My Dinner With Andre” ”When you says “its like X +Y” then people all lean back and their own elegant imaginations begin to dance with your ideas.

Mating two unlikely bedfellows, for fresh possibilities. Like

Peeping Tom + social platform = Facebook.

Peeping Tom meets Photo Camera App = Snapchat.

 

Here’s some things I’m wanting to innovate new forms or processes for:

acrylic painting

poetry

beatniks

therapy

attachment

writing

portraits

organic building structures

meditation

zumba

teenagers

ageing

playing fiddle

playing mandolin

playing piano

mindfulness

photo books

vacations

homestay students

senior photos

systems for creating

systems for planning

socializing

remodeling

diet

photos

reducing Iphone addiction

gut health

artistic lifestyle

goal setting

getting in the woods

Feel free to apply x+y to these for me, and leave innovations in the comments. I’d love that!

Example: I need someone to shop for a car for me. I have to let this old Beetle go. But you’d have to really know me and care that I got something that makes me happy. In return, I would paint them a picture. Or something else personal. Where is the online business for that? Online friending crossed with meaningful services. 

Here we have a bit of idea sex: how to paint something others like + how to use your photos. This is how I see Ivy Newport’s online class “figurescapes.” She takes printed pictures, makes copies, uses gel medium to adhere, embellishes with drawing, and then paints the pictures. A little unlike “paint by numbers” which was another version of idea sex from the 60’s: maps + paint + numbers= possible okay painting.

Here’s a couple of my paintings. I love seeing process, and so always try to show my own.

 

 

 

 

 

No Clowning Around

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Retreat

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This piece was created over a couple of days, while I retreated to my summer getaway on Vashon Island. Its where I was born. This is the first year, since I had my son, that he did not come with me. I missed him so much–and all the rituals we usually share. Someday, when he’s not committing adolescence, and grown out of teenage hood, we’ll share our beach walks, our trips to the tea shop for reading & Majong, and our beach fires again.

This year, I truly did enjoy painting and breaking for beach walks. Eating minimally, journaling, reading Billy Collins’ poetry and laughing out loud with no one. Reading a whole biography of Annie Liebowitz.  Painting some more. Podcasts. Listening to the soft waves while going to sleep at night. Feeling the passage of time. So bittersweet.

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Who Said This?

“Something whispered,

something that wasn’t even a word.

It was more like a silence

that was understandable.

I was standing

at the edge of the pond.

Nothing living, what we call living,

was in sight.

And yet, the voice entered me,

my body-life,

with so much happiness.

And there was nothing there

but the water, the sky, the grass.”

by Mary Oliver

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Italy Itinerary

Florence.

“This was Florence, the flattering and suspect beauty this city, half fairy tale half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.” ~Thomas Mann

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My son is a rock climber. His hands are indiscernible from The David’s. Well, I think so anyway.

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Soaking it up
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From Florence, we travelled to San Gimnano for the day, but ended our travel at Frallarenza, our agritourismo farm. We stayed here in Orvieto for a perfect week.

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“In Italy, they add work and life onto food and wine.”~ R. Leach.  From our tourismo garden, served on pottery made by our host, Selena.

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The stunning Orvieto Cathedral

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The damp, dark, and extremely cool underground well. We walked all the way down for the dank views.

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Make a wish

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Our lovely, perfectly Italian cooking lessons with Selena and Francesco. Tiramisu with heavy cream first, so it can chill while we make several other pastas, sauces, and vegetables.

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Rolling and shaping the Gnocchi, together

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We had Gnocchi with a red sauce and also a pesto sauce. Mashed potatoes and flour (gf). Delightful, rubbery noodle balls.

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Stopping for a shadow photo, late in the day, along cobblestone alleys. This is my first experience in Europe, in Italy. I’ll never forget that every hillside town consists of 800 year old streets and buildings of stone. Quite profound, when you think of the kids growing up in this sort of heritage.

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Rome for a day. I’m overwhelmed by crowded cities. We planned a single night stay here. In 97 degree weather, we agreed to see the Colleseum, The Trevi Fountain (at night) and the Vatican. Inside the Vatican museum is this stellar spiral walkway. Better than the ancient art, as I grown tired of the endless Madonna and Child theme.

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Our final week in the Amalfi Coast. A bright Jesus at a small cathedral in Praiano.

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Truly remarkable stone houses built into the stoney mountains. Many, many stairs throughout Amalfi, laddering up and down from house to house.

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We hired a small boat to ferry us from Praiano over to the town of Amalfi. Home to Lemoncello, fine paper, tiny roads and breathtaking charm. 52, made a dream come true.

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Kitchen Pharmacy: eating for brain power!

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A letter to friends, family and community:

I recently spent a day at a medicinal foods conference, and learned tons about current research on foods and amino acids and supplements that can deeply heal cells, tissues, blood, and the overall biome we walk around in. I got tons of information on medicinal foods targeting:

brain health, memory & cognition
inflammation
autoimmune disease
chronic pain
sleep disorders
fasting for health/keto diet

Because of my private practice, I have to take CEU’s annually for my license. I decided to help myself and my clients in the area of mood/brain/cognitive functioning. Everyone at the conference was devouring the research on brain health. I streamlined the information and made a list of the medicinals I am now taking, and offer to my clients. I thought I’d share it with you, even though I am not a doctor and cannot officially prescribe.

Here is the website and a few medicinals I am now taking for increased mental/brain functioning. ((Note: I also take VSL3 probiotic, Vitamin D, Multi-B vitamin for overall health:-))

First off, the place I shop online:

Vitacost is the online store I’ve used for years– for everything from food, probiotics, supplements, herbs, bath salts, dog food, and tons of organics (I use the Bham food coop for all fresh organic meat/produce!):

http://www.vitacost.com

And here is the link to the best Fish Oil for the price (nice orange flavor, highest levels EPA/DHA overall)

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-liquid-omega-3-purified-fish-oil-epa-dha

“True Focus” is a compound you may want to try in the mornings (increases neurotransmitter activity, increasing mood, clarity, memory and focus–through amino acids and other medicinal foods. Tyrosine/phenylalanine, etc):

http://www.vitacost.com/now-true-focus

I also take caprylic acid, which is a derivative of coconut oil, only much, much more powerful for brain octane. “Bulletproof coffee” has become a popular morning tonic for turning on your brain and focus—full of fats that saturate your brain and fires up your metabolism (it kills appetite, so force yourself to eat a few carbs/protein for genuine energy):

coffee
2 TB grassfed butter (kerrygold at Trader Joes)
2 TB coconut oil or MCT oil ( or caprylic acid in capsules)
5 drops stevia
cinnamon
blend in a blender or Vitamix

Green Tea Extract. Take this capsule in the morning, as green tea is stimulating. A powerful antioxidant, catechins/polyphenols are excellent for staving off cardio disease, protecting neural health, and reducing free radicals that can turn cancerous:

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-green-tea-extract-standardized

Spirulina and/or Chlorophyll are both essential green foods. They are what fish eat to produce all those Omega 3’s we then like to ingest. Try combining fish oil with spirulina for a huge boost in mental functioning. Both of these have been researched to show they protect your brain from dementia/alzheimers, improve mental functioning, protect against cardiovascular disease, and detox your overall biome–much like they do in the Ocean. 🙂

http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-spirulina-natural-algae

Note: you’ll want to use any of these supplements for 60 before deciding if they work. Everyone’s body/brain are unique. Natural food remedies are slower and more gentle to the system, but also provide actual, genuine healing to the cells, tissues, and bloodstream through the body and brain!
in health, love,

LaurelH

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The Power of the Yawn

Yawning: every creature that has a spine yawns. It’s a built in repair circuit which triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms everything down in your body.

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Yawning is particularly useful when your body is stressed, injured, or ill. If you’ve got a head ache, try yawn “surfing”– where you literally try to yawn over and over–in most situations, your headache will ease up.

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Yawning is very good when you’re scared or upset. Try for at least three minutes of non-stop yawns, including gentle stretching, making little noises, gently rubbing your face or eyes. If you’re doing it well, your eyes should be watering.

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If you’re able to yawn for 10-15 minutes, your stomach may growl. By now, you’ve probably already yawned once?

images-4Twenty to forty minutes of non-stop yawning can also decommission stagefright. Do it until just before you walk out on stage, or in front of the camera.

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Humans have been yawning since the beginning of time, often as a stress response, sort of like dogs. Have you ever noticed when your dog is stressed they stretch, yawn and shake it off? We’re the same. My mom used to work at a community mental health clinic and would no sooner get in the car to drive home….and her body would begin yawning….all the way home. She never understood it– until she learned about yawning as discharging stress from the body.

Babies and kids are masterful yawners.

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Yawning is contagious. Try yawning at a meeting with others. Many others around you will involuntarily yawn. Like laughter and even tears, humans discharge built up tensions through these emotional releases. Discharging is a powerful. natural way back to feeling good again.

Even the Dali Llama yawns.

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(I was yawn surfing the whole time I was trying to write this! So funny!)

Diet for IBS-c

Hello, I thought I’d give an update on some new diet and medicinals I’ve been using to heal IBS-c symptoms. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a big, inflammatory response in the digestive tract. Its causes are many and uniqueness to each person make it difficult to treat. Its been years of experimenting.  I eat mostly paleo with lots of fats, and take VSL3 (an awesome probiotic– best price at Costco),  vitamin D.

Here’s my recent discoveries that are making a great difference for me:

turmeric + black pepper by Youththeory. You can buy it affordably at Costco or on my go-to Vitacost. I’ve been taking it for quieting the inflammatory response (morning puffy eyes) and brain fog. I take it 3x day when recovering from episodes that can last for days, where everything in my system is out of balance.

Here’s my biggest break-through for managing irritation and constipation caused by food sensitivities:

…drinking a nightly glass of 1/4 tsp of magnesium citrate, 1/4 tsp of calcium citrate, and 2 tsp of powdered magnesium. All three of these must be in powder form. I keep them together with the measuring spoons, and stir them into an 8 0z glass of warm water. It fizzes and is comforting before bed. I get all of these affordably at Vitacost.

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Here are a few things I’ve figured out about food, that may be true for you. In Ayurvedics (East Indian medicine) I am a dasha that cannot tolerate raw food. Vata. I can’t eat raw foods in bulk. Raw foods and Smoothies DO NOT work for my digestion and take me days to recover from. A small salad with cooked food like soup or meat is best.

Here’s what I eat that keeps me digesting, out of inflammation, and out of IBS episodes:  lots of different kinds of soups, homemade coconut kefir, warmed fruit with cinnamon, meat, stir fry vegetables, homemade Lara Bars, coconut oil and grass fed butter in large amounts with steamed veggies, nuts, almond butter, beef or chicken in lettuce wraps, lots of ginger tea, black tea. Almost no carbs at all. I have a great recipe for sugar/dairy/grain free brownies that I’ll post soon.

Those are my latest updates…. and I hope that these little tips and make a big difference for you on your journey to healing your gut!

Now back to painting…..

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