Adapted from the slow moods manifesto (http://slowmoodmovement.wordpress.com/manifesto/)
My aim is to cultivate in me and by osmoses in my children a new idea and a new practice of selfhood which includes sensorial, mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual health.
My kids learn by observing my actions, not by listening to my worlds. I must show them my search for health in order to give them the tools to develop their own healthy lifestyle. Inspired by the Slow Food and the Slow Moods Movements we are rejecting fast food, fast moods, fast friends, fast fixes, fast solutions.
I have learned that my role is to help my children understand that life is not about seeking happiness or completeness but freedom. For them to acquire levels of liberation, agency, and free will. This means being aware of their own thoughts, even when they are unpleasant. It means feeling out their own moods, even when they are uncomfortable. It means accepting their own behavior.
This has lead me to not be afraid to examine my own life – my relationships, my environments, and my workplaces – with eyes unclouded by dreams.
I am learning to taking it slow. Because life is too important to rush through. For me to be able to help my children figure out a way to thrive in what has become a toxic culture and world, I have come to understand that my life has to demonstrate and become what I want them to learn. Talking about an issue is not the same as developing strategies that mirror the values I believe in.
I am now at a point where I understand how addiction, consumerism, saviors, and some belief systems subject us to unwanted power relations, while robbing us of the opportunity to overcome obstacles for ourselves. In a culture obsessed with speed, these activities allow us to cope and ignore ourselves.
I now understand that it is essential for me to help my children learn to take it slow. Slowly learning to feel their inner states. Slowly developing the cognitive tools needed to make healthy decisions for themselves, their communities, and their world. Slowly learning to expand their emotions and connect with other people as people, not functions. These things can’t be given instantly. They have to build them for themselves, over time, as they become more fully aware of themselves within space.
It is also important for me to help my children learn not to fear their own thoughts or moods. To feel them out and examine them, without guilt. To learn to ask themselves where they come from, why they are within them. To find friends who are good listeners, and share when trust has been established.
To help my children learn not to repress their desires. To let themselves feel them.
To help my children learn to resist the pressure to act happy all the time, and to not put this kind of pressure on others. To help my children learn to evaluate their own behavior. Calmly, without guilt, to learn to think about what they have done and to decide for themselves what to do next.
To help my children learn not to trust but to question the hidden curriculum of strict codes that tell them which actions are “right” and which are “wrong.” And to not bother to write these codes for themselves. I hope they will work to cultivate their minds and hearts, so that they become guided by their intellect and passions, not by some disembodied set of rules.