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Life can be exciting, stimulating, fast-moving – and stressful. When we start to slow down, something magical happens. We suddenly discover riches – treasures that were there all the time, but we were too busy or too pre-occupied to notice them. A simpler, slower-paced life provides time and space for creativity, for community, for participation, for quality, and for the awareness and enjoyment of the natural world. When we simplify our lives we actually have more, not less. But the riches we discover are subtler, and ultimately more satisfying, than the noisy, vibrant and multi-coloured riches that predominate in modern life.

George Moore wrote that “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it”. Modern life is like travelling away from ourselves, seeking meaning in the commodities and entertainments that are provided for us by commerce. Simplifying life is like coming home to ourselves and knowing, for the first time, that we already have everything that we need, here and now.

I’ve been thinking about what makes slow so valuable, and I think it’s because it leaves time for the interactive processes of learning and of building relationships. For example, I recently commissioned a design for my garden. Probably not a very ‘slow’ thing to do, but as someone who’s tended to give my gardens the wildflower meadow treatment, I felt I needed help! The design is great and gives me a real vision of what the garden could be like. But what I haven’t done is hire anyone to implement the design. Physical changes definitely need the slow treatment. So I make small changes, one at a time. Each new change alters my experience of the garden, and this experience contributes to my understanding of the design and to my process of building a relationship with the garden. The space is evolving into something that will have been co-created by me, by the designer, and by the garden itself. It is like the difference between viewing a photograph of an unknown family and the experience of nurturing and being nurtured within your own family.

The Slow Coach

Get in the slow lane for a fuller, more creative, more sustainable life. Let The Slow Coach take you there.

Robert Ashton on The Slow Coach

"Every week I meet people setting out to offer life coaching. Only once have I encountered a life coach with the intellectual agility, insight and strength of character to impress me."