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slow down

by Yael Alkalay

"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

-- Mahatma Gandhi

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    One of the best days of my life was spent sitting watching the light of dawn reflect on the white marble of the taj mahal and slowly turn softer as sunlight melted into dusk.  its beauty is seared into my memory and i have to come back to explore its hold on me. looking deeper and seeing more profoundly is a theme that philosophically grounds red flower. simple statements like “take time” and “red is everywhere. flowers are everything” that run through our culture, illustrate a quiet belief that slowing down and noticing can make all the difference.

 

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my version of go slow doesn’t mean “not doing”,

it means do things more slowly so that you can bring a level of focus, precision, subtly and purpose to every act. at its peak it is about pleasure, about being truly in.

 

 

early in my life travels, i was fortunate to experience the “slow” theories professed by tea master okakura kakuzoin the book of tea, 

 

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

 

in combination with a rich lust for life, adapted from my argentine family and years of onsen bathing in ishikawa, japan, okakura’s writings turned me into a true card carrying member of the slow movement even before i knew such a basic life need had a name, never mind a movement.

 

 

the way of Slow. Carl Honoré's, In Praise of Slowness,

 

"It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting."

 

 

 

at red flower we value slow,

producing in micro-batches with a kind of old world craftsmanship and thoughtfully sourced ingredients from small farmers and suppliers, we choose our partners carefully and support them fully. it takes time but it makes the world of difference. you can feel it in everything we make and do. red flower is an expression of a “slow good” where quality always supersedes quantity.

 

 

 

take a slow pace and
plunge softly into the happy holiday season.

 

3 suggestions to celebrate with fullness:

 

 

 

 

 

one: the self/stop
time/doing one thing well

 

 

going into the holiday season relaxed and positively anticipating the pleasure of gathering with friends and family requires a little preparation. the benefits are especially impactful this time of year. there are many ways of accessing the beauty of slow - the primal urge to do one thing well.  the everyday can be elevated. breathe deeply, and begin grinding coffee beans, cutting an orange, showering in hot water, reading the paper, putting everything down and listening, walking completely in the subtly of just this. bringing every sense to noticing every incredible detail is a strong foundation around which to build a day, a life. i find it so grounding, calm and joyful. and when slow happens, time feels bigger, it expands and is generous.

 

 

https://vimeo.com/43338103

 

 

"The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our speedup needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."

-- Professor Guttorm Floistad

 

 

two: the meal

 

 

make fewer things - the abundance of a full table can also be the abundance of a few things made very thoughtfully, slowly and with local, seasonal ingredients.

having big expectations creates undue stress. slowing down means keeping it simple. make a fewer things more carefully. one great pie (i will be celebrating in new england and will keep with the tradition of fannie farmer’s apple pie recipe with extra inspiration from the brilliant marlissa briggett, “the wisdom of pie” and creator of humble pies.)

 

with a little clear direction and one favorite recipe made by every guest, the holiday meal becomes a celebration in its truest sense.

 

 

 

Learn how we set our table this holiday season...
READ "3 dinner parties"

 

 

 

three: the gift

 

giving a gift, shopping for gifts, finding meaningful gifts leave us a bit frazzled - i like to give gifts that encourage the very things that i have found such deep pleasure in and will encourage thoughtfulness, good cheer and actualize the experience of taking time.

 

a gift is inherently an act of slowing down and allows for a moment of daily observation is the sprout of a wonderful house plant like eucaplytus (or seeds or even an avocado!), good soil and a beautiful flower pot. there is such gratification of tending one’s garden.

 

“Where you tend a rose my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 

 

 

giving the gift of slowness in the form of tea and a tea cup, or even a water pitcher is profound in its perfection.

 

"When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”

― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

 

my personal favorite, truly what i have dedicated my life to, is the gift of immersion in a deep mineral soak by the incandescent light of a naturally perfumed candle. here, the gift of time is handed back to you beautifully wrapped in warm, relaxation, filled with a calm vitality and exhuberant potential.

 

 

 

i close my eyes, i am here.

yael shares a gift.
impart deep meaning and
celebrate love with the gift of giving

READ "the gift"

 

a few other great reasons to go slow:

 

slow down for a healthier heart. those who hate to wait have an almost 50 percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure in the next 15 years compared with those who know how to Zen it, according to a Northwestern University study. *webmd

 

There is some evidence that as you do regular breathing and slow the heart rate, you can calm or quiet the autonomic nervous system," says Dr. Vernon Williams, director of sports neurology and pain management at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in L.A.

 

slow down to boost your energy. living at a frenetic tempo leads you to breathe in shallow, stressed gulps, depriving your brain and body of sufficient oxygen, a key source of energy. breathe deeply. *webmd

 

slow down to reduce pain. stress over long periods of time can increase inflammation, as well as joint and muscle pain. that inflammation, says Dr. Michael Irwin, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral science at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, could lead to increased pain sensitivity. Slow, rhythmic breathing and movement "target the pathways by shutting off or diminishing the inflammatory response," he says. *latimes

 

 

check out our current offers, peace.

  • Joanne

    Beautiful journal. I almost could not slow down enough to read it, but then I did. I am thankful I read this journal, it really touched the core of where I am at in my life (frantic) and gave me good information. Thank you!

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