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Can you find your slow lane?

In a world that values speed and busyness, what happens when we intentionally choose to slow down?

Theatre-making practices in Asia taught me that intentional slow movement can effectively disrupt habitual patterns of unsustainable stress and busyness.

During my training experiences in the humble Tokyo studio of Yoshito Ohno, son of the legendary co-founder of butoh, Kazuo Ohno, I encountered a powerful lesson.

During a training session outside of Tokyo one day, a talented dancer struggled with an exercise of slowing down every movement. As a performance form, Butoh teaches intensely present, slow movements.

As she gracefully moved her body across the space, the teacher asked her to slow down. He repeated this request multiple times, and in her attempts to integrate this into her expressed body, she twitched and shook, unable to dance slowly.

It was surprising to see how her habit of moving in a particular way restricted her from exploring a slower strategy. Yoshito-san, as an embodied remedy to her habits, suggested she explore Noh, a six-hundred-year-old traditional Japanese dance, typically characterized by slow movements. (Noh is actually the oldest living form of theatre in the world).

He emphasized how changing 'the dance' requires a different aesthetic of movement.

My personal practice of slowing down, often supported by slow movement and sensory mindfulness, supports me to manage my stress, enhancing a sense of well being and creative calm. I can then re-load with focused energy.

In our fast-paced world, consistency beats intensity over time.

Intense burst of busyness, without slower respites, may contribute to stress, burnout, and a constriction of our ability to self-regulate, all conditions that stifle creative flow.

But slowness might be a contributing key to reclaiming our wellness, by facilitating embodied disruption and neurological repatterining.

As an experiment in practice, try expriencing things in your life more slowly. Moving slowly, thinking slowly, witnessing slowly, listening slowly, acting slowly, and responding slowly, can counterbalance the negative impacts of our rushed lives.

While slowness may seem counterproductive, the opposite is true.

A slow strategy nurtures responsiveness, reflection, calm, creativity, and connection, which is a foundation for sustainable consistency.

Intentional slowness is empowering, practical, and refreshing. It transcends time, gives direction to pace, and can profoundly impact our well-being.

So, take your time to move into a slower lane and begin to practice a different dance.

* Contact me if you are curious to explore how you can develop and integrate a slower strategy in your personal life, creative work, and collaborations.

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