• Simon

Nice and Slow

Slowness as a means to acceleration of awareness.

The air was relatively still during my walk yesterday evening. As I was strolling through the village streets, I switched my newly-found stone from my right hand to my left, caressing its cool smooth surface - the perfect weight in my curious palm. All day long I had had this feeling of tenderness in me, like an opening right at my centre, feeling as vulnerable as the musical bone - this place at the elbow which sends awkward shivers through the whole body, when you accidentally hit it for instance on a chair.

Anyhow, I remembered using the extreme slo-mo walk exercise (as described here) recently with a bunch of fourth graders and thought that it somehow really is difficult to get to some kind of flow when focusing so hard on balancing your body in extreme slowness. So, I started experimenting while walking, with different tempos, and tried to slow down to a point where I still had momentum enough to stabilise rhythmical and partly automatic leg movements. After a few minutes, I established wellbeing in the triangle of rhythm, tempo and balance (reaching which requires more trust and confidence than any other excercises) I noticed how now new energies were released for increased observation on all levels of sensing.

I cleared space, positioned myself differently in time and by doing so emancipated parts of myself from being driven and stressed (from mere circumstances like thinking of what will happen next).

Looking ahead and opening my view while finding this equilibrium in walking velocity, I could describe as having a magnifying glass and a bird's eye perspective at the same time. A curious mix of quickening, all around noticing and decreasing tempo on the tape of life, which was my “boring” walk home from the forest.

Stepping into this parallel dimension, like on a moving ramp at the airport that goes slower than normal walking, obviously attracts attention on busy pedestrian streets - in the best case wonder, in the worst case irritation and all this increases the more people join the slow group.

While introducing people to soundwalks I need to emphasise that all aspects of this project are to be regarded as an experiment with playful seriousness - a game where you leave your scepticism at the doorstep. While being a part of the experimenting group in this ongoing research, collaboration and curiosity are paramount.

I think on future soundwalks I need clearly defined segments of different speeds and points of rest and a sound to signalise entering the different segments, which will be agreed on together with the group. In preparation we will do some walking-speed and body awareness exercises.

After having these rather simple realisations I felt the opening in my center satisfied and closing again, like the jaws of a yawning hippo. I am not always this lucky and sometimes the hippo is really hungry. But the jungle of life was gracious today. Who knows what else hides in the bushes.