WHAT IS SLOW LIVING?
In its essence it's introducing the idea of a different mindset. Of being more intentional. More mindful. More present in your every day, with wherever you are and in whatever you’re doing. Often there are times that my life and circumstances are fast paced, but I can still practice a slow living mindset amidst those times.Because slow living isn't always about pace, it's about an intentionality. Essentially, it's taking the time to enjoy life's gifts in the various, often over looked, forms they take. Even when they require extra steps. Even when they require more time. Even when there's a to do list hanging over my head. Maybe even especially when. Because it's a healthier way of living.
I try to embody this idea and this practice in everything I do. I’m not always good at it, and often people don’t understand it, but I feel called to live a life that’s counter, other and different and I’ve found these ideas align with that calling. Slow living also holds within it the idea of self-care, which I think is a topic in and of itself that’s also of great importance. When we love and take care of ourselves, we can do the same for others in our lives. From our family and friends, to that stranger you meet while standing in line, to your varying social circles, to the communities you live in. I want to be able to serve and love others with my best self and this lifestyle has led me to be able to do that more proactively and fully. But truthfully we can all use a reminder to slow down in this fast paced culture of ours, don’t you agree? To be prompted to hold, within ourselves and our lives, the things that are truly meaningful and add value instead of take it away.
WHY DID YOU MAKE THE CHOICE TO LIVE SLOW?
A few years ago, I had come to the end of my rope. In every area of my life possible. I was burned out, overworked, unhealthy, unhappy and unsatisfied with where my life was headed. I didn’t want to be so stressed and overwhelmed all the time. I’d achieved all of these so-called successes and goals and, from the outside, looked like I had it all together. Yet somehow they all echoed hollow and insignificant in the wake of the chaotic tornado that was my life. I didn’t have the capacity to be there for those I loved. I didn’t have the time to take on anything new, because I was overloaded with all I was already juggling. I wasn’t sleeping well at best, and not sleeping at all at worst. I was slowly losing myself and who I truly was amidst the constant fast paced lifestyle I was leading. A year or so into the mending and healing of myself and my well being I came across the phrase: Slow living. I don’t fully remember where I first heard it or how it came about, but the more I learned about it, the more it resonated with that centermost part of my soul. It was like a soothing touch to the worn out, broken and battered state of my psyche and I knew that it was the change that I needed to start living the kind of lifestyle that I wanted to lead.
WHAT HAS CHANGED MOST IN YOUR LIFE BY LIVING THIS WAY?
The way I relate to and care for myself and others. I’ve learned that comparison is the very subtle and stealthy thief of joy. Constantly holding my life up to the reflection of others was one of the first things that put me in that unhealthy and unhappy state I mentioned before. I also came to realize that practices, habits and routines that work for others might not always work well for me. We each have an individual make-up with varying strengths and weaknesses. We each need to learn and know what it is that brings those pieces of us out into the open and either protect and build or or extract and eliminate them accordingly. The opposite of comparison, for me, is contentment.
To me, contentment holds within it the ideas of:
1. Enough: That you are enough and have enough within and around you already, and no measure of striving or struggle will change that.
2. Gratitude: For the enough that is in you and in your life here and now.I have to work really hard to create space and time for myself, but it is so essential to my well being. But it’s less so about me, and more so about others.I now feel so much more capable of being fully present for people in my life as a result of living slower.
Additionally, the incredible deep, heartfelt, and open conversations this lifestyle and mindset has brought about with friends, family and strangers alike has truthfully been one of the most rewarding things.
Just like this one we’re having now!
LETS TALK ABOUT KNITTING! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT IT?
Oh my goodness where do I start?
Well, I’ve been knitting for 17 years and I’ve always been an artist in some form or another, but the artistry I’ve found through working with fiber is one that is constantly changing and unfolding for me in such beautiful ways. I hold sustainable and ethical practices within the idea of Slow Living and this seeps into my knitwear as well. I’m very passionate about being a part of the process of creation from the very beginning. From taking a newly shorn fleece, processing it, spinning it into yarn and then designing and knitting a garment from it. It feels incredibly rewarding to be able to not only make a garment with my own two hands that tells a story and will last for generations, but one that has been made with so much responsibility, intention and respect for the steps and work that it took to do so. And though I’m a pretty fast knitter at this point and can do it anywhere and everywhere (from walking down the street, to movie theaters…) it still is an activity that at it’s core requires me to slow down.
IF YOU GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I ferociously want others to recognize, embrace and act on the dreams and passions that are inside of them. Because I believe we were each given a unique and beautiful set that speaks to the beauty of our creator and to not acknowledge that is a disservice to not only ourselves and our God-given purpose, but to those around us who are waiting for the very thing that we hold in us that we are meant to serve and love them with.
So whatever it is you need to do to start doing it, if you’ve never done it, or to re-learn how to do it, if you forgot, or to keep doing it, if you’re in that process: do that.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE US TO KNOW?
As I mentioned with my knitwear, I’m passionate about sustainable and ethical practices. Especially in the wake of fast fashion (if you’re unsure what that is, go watch The True Cost documentary). As a result I started a venture called Folkling where I curate and sell handmade and vintage clothing and homewares. It’s only a few months old but it’s been such a wonderful addition to my lifestyle and a fun outlet for this message in regards to slow living and the values and beliefs that I hold. You can check it out on Instagram at: @folkling and read more on my website at: www.agirlnamedleney.com/folkling
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU? ORDER A KNIT PIECE? READ YOUR WRITING? ETC.
Connecting with others through good conversation and heartfelt ideas is one of my favorite things so please do say hello on any of those platforms or shoot me an email: email@example.com