Listen to YOUR “Voice of Slow”
Listen to YOUR “Voice of Slow”
Oxford Business Woman’s Compelling, Transformational Book Empowers YOU to Listen to YOUR “Voice of Slow”
Green Umbrella bring you a special sample chapter from Jackie Jarvis’s new book In Pursuit of Slow
Are you addicted to busyness? Are you racing through your tasks like an express train but still not feeling satisfied with what you are achieving? Have you reached a point in your life when you want or need to make a change? Or do you simply want to feel happier than you do right now?
If so, it may be time to give yourself permission to slow down – starting today.
Business Coach Jackie Jarvis’s, ‘In Pursuit of Slow: Stress Less. Be Happier. Accomplish More’ takes readers on a journey through the author’s life, sharing in her successes and failures as she learns to listen to her ‘Voice of Slow’. Drawing inspiration from a series of unexpected reflections while walking the Camino de Santiago, Jackie’s own transformation serves as a blueprint to anybody who is struggling with the demands of keeping up with the rapid pace of life in the modern world. Jackie’s book will teach you how to slow down your life, give yourself permission to relax, and ultimately achieve what is most important to you.
Sample Chapter 1 – The Voice of Slow
“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This chapter introduces the concept that we all have our own Voice of Slow.
Our Voice of Slow wants us to listen, to take heed. It wants us to stop running too fast and doing too much. It wants the best for us.
What does your Voice of Slow say when it whispers gently to you? Does it ask you to take your time, to stop juggling tasks, to stop pushing for more? Does it plead with you to rest for a while, to savour moments in your life, to take a pause?
Do you heed its calling, or do you choose to ignore its presence? Do you prefer to listen to another voice that speaks louder in your head, telling you that you can’t stop, that if you do, you may never get going again? That you must not let anyone down, you must keep going?
Who says that you don’t have permission to pause?
In quieter moments, you may hear your Voice of Slow calling and feel its presence. It wants you to be happy, to feel those moments of joy in your life, to be free of the chains that bind you to working so hard and continually pushing yourself. It wants you to know that you can trust yourself. You don’t have to listen to ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’, ‘must nots’ and ‘can’ts’. These are rules that no longer serve you.
The World Praises Fast
The challenge is that we are living in a society which applauds ‘busyness’; we are all constantly in a rush, squeezing more tasks into already-packed agendas, multi-tasking, never having time to stop. Being busy can be interpreted as being successful; you may no longer be effective, you may not be happy or fulfilled, but if you are busy and accomplishing things, well, then you must be successful, mustn’t you?
With modern technology, speed is everything. Fast food, same-day delivery, instant turnaround. Nobody can wait anymore. Our souls often outpaced by the speed of the life which we have created for ourselves. Maybe this is why many of us feel so out of balance and out of sync with ourselves?
Running too Fast, Pushing too Hard
As far as I can remember, I have always been ‘pushing to make something happen’, or climbing a ‘metaphorical mountain’. I remember overhearing my dad object to something a school teacher had once said about me not being good enough to pass my 11+ exams and that I would probably end up working in a supermarket (this was when I was only eight years old!). These comments drove me to work harder than ever I needed to; I was probably the only 11-year-old to revise for the 11+ exams for three years! That work cycle has persisted ever since: despite getting to university and passing my exams I have always been pushing myself, over-doing the work required.
Couldn’t stop just in case…
My obsession with work was compounded by my parents’ divorce when I was sixteen years old, which caused me considerable emotional and financial hardship. I vowed never to let myself be left in the same position as my mother, and henceforth, would never allow myself to rely on a man for anything! From that point on, I never felt like I had a safety net or a cushion to make my journey any easier.
Couldn’t stop… had to keep pushing on…
This ‘pushing’ has brought many good things into my life, but I have never really learned how to slow down.
When I was younger, I remember thinking everything was very transitory, that what you did each day could be forgotten and renewed with something fresh the next day, that time was always passing, like the flow of a river, always moving.
When you rush, the river of time can seem to go faster, but when you slow down and pay attention to the flow, that same river can seem endless.
Why should you slow down though and pay more attention to the flow of the river?
What happens under Stress?
You may be familiar with the term ‘fight or flight’ which describes the mechanism in the body that enables us to mobilise bursts of energy to cope with threats to our survival. This was same in prehistoric times as it is today, the only difference being our perception of stress. Fight or flight is an automatic bodily response when a threat is perceived, and our autonomic nervous system puts our bodies on alert. Stress hormones are released, the heart beats more rapidly, and breathing is quicker. However, the part of our brain which initiates this automatic fight or flight response cannot distinguish between a real or a perceived threat.
That means if we continually keep minds on ‘stress alert’ and never let our foot off the accelerator, we can find ourselves dealing with perceived threats all day long! If we do not allow time for our bodies to recover from these stress alerts, we will eventually run out of energy. Also, the stress hormones created by these automatic responses are not good for our long-term health.
So, if you, like me, have been continually driven by fears of what might happen if you don’t push, you can imagine what could end up happening to your stress levels.
So why not slow down – what stops you?
Why don’t you sit by the riverbank and watch the river flow?
Much of the pressure we often find ourselves feeling is self-generated, created by our inner voices. Think of the voice that urges you to move quicker and achieve more, as your Ego talking, persuading you that you can’t slow down. You have too much to do, you are too important, you must move quickly to achieve all your goals.
Think of the other quieter voice you hear as your Soul’s voice This voice may have other plans for you, but can become drowned out by the noise and force of your Ego. At times, it can feel like you have two very different people influencing you, one on each shoulder, both vying for your attention.
What does your Ego say to prevent you slowing down? Are these statements familiar to you?
- If I slow down, will people think I can’t cope?
- If I stop, no-one else is going to do this work
- I can’t take time out, it is weak
- If I slow down, I may fail
- I have too much to do and it won’t get done if I go slower
Upon hearing these messages, what do you do? Do you keep on going, drowning out the whisper of your soul which implores you to stop and listen to what you really need?
Listen to your Voice of Slow
Think of your Ego as being the part of you (i.e. your mind) which has brought with it all the beliefs from your past. The opinions of teachers, parents, and employers, the voice that says to you loudly in your head, that you must keep going, that if you stop nobody else is going to do it for you. The part of you that lacks trust, that is afraid that everything will fall apart if you stop pushing. Your Ego is primarily driven by fear.
Your soul, however, is the part of you that is driven by love and wants you to be true to yourself. The part of you that lies deep within and looks out through your eyes. It is the part of you that lives within your body and speaks the gentle words of slow to you. Your soul has your happiness and joy at the forefront of its mind and wants you to question your fears of ‘Slow’.
Beliefs of your Ego v the Intention of your Soul
I have come to realise how my early beliefs were formed and it all now makes complete sense. I was doing what I could to protect myself from pain. From an early age, I was afraid of losing the security provided by my parents, so by the time they finally split up, and my father had to leave, I had already prepared myself for it.
As a child, I was always planning, always active, always setting up things to do or to achieve. As soon as I was old enough to work, I found a Saturday job and an evening job, then saved for a moped to make myself independent as quickly as possible. I never allowed myself the luxury of standing still, of doing nothing. The only problem is that if you learn to rely on yourself from an early age, it can make it harder later in life to trust anybody else and allow yourself to take your own foot off the accelerator.
In a way, I still feel like that child now… still planning, still setting things up, unable to stop.
So, if I were to say, right now, that I am unable to slow down because if I do, everything will fall apart and I will have nothing left… is that really true?
I know it is a strongly-held belief of mine, glued together with fear and hence very hard to shift. We now know that this belief is my Ego – my falsely-created, yet completely understandable thought process inherited from my past. My soul, on the other hand, wants me to be happy and peaceful and knows that things can never fall apart. That if I slowed down I could be more effective, truer to myself, and would be able to help both myself and others more.
I couldn’t stop though… I had to keep pushing on… ignoring the wisdom of my Voice of Slow.
I remember my Grandmother Peggy telling me to ‘Slow down!’ Would I listen though? Would I heck! I often wonder if that is her speaking to me now as I write this book. The messages I hear, the things I notice that I didn’t when she was alive; she was the one person in my life who never let me down, a constant loving presence I am truly grateful to have had in my life. We had a pact that when she died and passed over to spirit, she would contact me.
Maybe this is her way of waking me up to my Voice of Slow. ‘Slow Down Jackers!’ (The very words she used to say).
“Your Voice of Slow has something to say to you, something you need to hear.”
As I reflect upon this, I feel its truth. It momentarily loosens the hold that the beliefs of my fear-driven Ego have on me. Allow it to do the same for yours.
Reflections from the Voice of Slow
During this section allow your Voice of Slow to come forward
The Voice of Slow wants the best for you. It knows that you are enough, just as you are. Listen to its gentle voice and trust in its intentions.
A moment to pause
Just take a pause and sit somewhere quietly for a moment. Allow yourself to take three deep breaths. As you breathe out, let go of the tension you are holding in. Allow your shoulders to drop. Close your eyes and just sit in silence for a few minutes.
As you take this pause, let the thoughts that compete to take up space in your mind float past, like clouds in the sky. Let them go. Allow yourself this moment to reconnect.
Without stopping to think, write down your answers to the following questions:
- What do you believe could happen, in a positive way, if you slowed down?
- What would not happen?
- Which voice are you listening too? (your Ego or your Soul?)
- Which voice would you like to listen to?
Now look at what you have written down and ask yourself the following questions:
- What have you written down that is driven by or connected to FEAR?
- What have you written down that is motivated by LOVE for yourself?
Your Voice of Slow will grow stronger as you read and respond to each chapter of this book.
Two prominent Oxford Business Women give their feedback:
Nicola Poole Hedges Law said “This wonderful read stopped me in my busy tracks. The author gently inspires with a compelling and engaging message which will speak to anyone who finds themselves in the fast lane unable to take their foot off the pedal, highly recommended”
Alison Haill from Oxford Professional Consulting adds, “This is a really great read. If you want – or need – to slow down the pace of your life, this book immediately starts you on your journey…and it doesn’t mean you must become slow and boring! Right from the first chapter, I found myself tuning in to my “Voice of Slow”. I know it’s doing me good.”
Be inspired to Slow Down to Gain More get your copy now
‘In Pursuit of Slow: Stress Less. Be Happier. Accomplish More’ is available here, or from Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford.
Growth Coach| Author|Speaker|Mastermind Groups| Natural Selling| Slow Down to Gain More