Two years ago, as part of my French artist residency I was researching other creative companies.
That's when I came across a movement called #slowfashion. Slow fashion was inspired by the slow food movement, and here's what Wikipedia says about it:
Slow fashion, the alternative to fast fashion and part of what has been called the "slow movement", advocates for principles similar to the principles of slow food, such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers.
I love the ideas of slow fashion and slow food. However, I've never really thought of slow anything as positive... especially related to me. I lament that I haven't learned things quicker, created things faster, figured it all out sooner. And then...
Just last week I was talking with my friend Megan Lyon, who is also a spiritual director. She suggested that my perceived "slow growth" was still growth. Hmm, I liked that.
Megan was in no way implying there was anything wrong with my slow growth. She didn't even imply that I actually had slow growth. She was responding to my own thoughts and perceptions about myself and reframing them in a more hopeful and truthful way.
Over my lifetime, I have actually fulfilled many of my desires. I know this, and I am deeply grateful. Then my ego mind (you know that fearful thought monster) swoops in to berate me... to put me in my place. Every time I offer to myself or anyone else how good I feel about things I've accomplished, this voice inside my head has to counter it all with a bunch of negativity. One of the biggest negative things the voice says is how slow I am.
For someone who is constantly striving, and who feels this stress inside the body, this idea that I could be a part of a #slowgrowth movement was such a relief.
I come from a strong midwestern work ethic. If you don't know what to do > then work! Added to that, I have a personality that can have inner angst, combined with life trauma. And I have struggled with being in touch with my needs and standing up for myself.
This lethal combo works together for me in a negative way and leaves me often in a place of striving. That's a big part of why I've also been attracted to the ideas from Abraham-Hicks and The Law of Attraction > which support that you can attract more of what you want without trying so hard or even trying at all. You just come into alignment with feeling better and allowing.
As a young mom, I was in therapy and anxious to go back to school to get my master's degree to be a therapist. I remember my therapist, a wise woman, telling me there was no rush. It ended up being several years before I got my master's degree and she was right. Even though I went back for my degree when my kids were older, I have already been a therapist now for 18 years.
When I left my therapy job to open my own office > it was so hard. I didn't know I could support myself, but I knew the non-profit agency job and negative environment were killing me - literally! My anxiety was so bad I would often throw up on Monday mornings before work. When I finally took the leap and had my own amazing office (see photo above), I wondered why it took me so long. It seemed like such a slow process, but I did it.
Then within a few years, I decided I wanted to expand my office and live in a bigger city. It seemed impossible to have opened a business and then in a few years expand and move it. But the desire to grow kept pushing me. I had visited my youngest son in Charlotte and wanted to be closer to him. So I began teaching essential oils classes when I visited. Then I had a few clients. Finally, I decided after a few years to take the leap. My second office (pictured here) was in an industrial-ish art space on the edge of Uptown Charlotte and I loved it... even though it didn't have heat in the winter > I had expanded and accomplished a huge goal (with the help of family and friends). Again, if you are close to me you know that many times I didn't know how I would ever accomplish this. It seemed to take excruciating effort and a long time getting to... so sloooow. Then...
Fast forward to the present moment and I am now in my third office incarnation (see below)... a lovely creative happy space in a former cookie factory! I've combined my therapy practice and creative brand Wanda Petunia and reside in my own office within a most amazing co-working community.
Advent Coworking is a collaborative joy-filled venture with great support, amenities and community. The me who once had panic attacks all day and felt extreme distress could never ever ever have believed my good fortune to have the work and creative space I have now and the life I've created... whether it seemed slow or was slow or not.
Family and friends held my hand to encourage me along the way - and I am so deeply grateful :) At the time, I always felt that everything moved so slowly. Now, I believe I moved as fast as I could. My own doubts, fears, lack of self-confidence and personal struggles did in fact slow me down. But that's the best I could do at the time. (I know this thanks to "The Four Agreements" - read it)
The slow movement is about thoughtfulness, being a responsible steward, not being part of mass consumption and consciousness. Getting in touch with another version of slow: "slow movement is still movement" feels so good to me. The way I am referring to it isn't exactly what they meant by #slowfashion or #slowfood, yet I am choosing to make that connection because it's a value that feels better for me. Slow, for me, isn't accepting my own resistance. It's noticing resistance and moving beyond it. It isn't resignation. It's determination to keep with it, even if it's slowly.
Instead I am choosing to release ideas of what success is taught to be. Yes, I would still like to get on the Ellen show with Wanda Petunia in this lifetime. There are still upgrades I desire in my income flow, lifestyle and business expansion.
And, I am going to be thankful every day that I'm being more present moment all the time. I am making my way toward my heart's desires in a peaceful and inner-relaxed way. I trust that what I need will come when I need it and I don't have to struggle, strive and try so hard.
I'm more in touch with how slow growth is more meaningful than striving growth.
Because I am patient, I am willing to be patient... with me!
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