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Train, Or Plane?

For as long as the COVID pandemic is with us, public health officials are advising travelers to travel by train, rather than plane. Traveling alone (or with others you're living with) in a cabin or a sleeper, and social distancing from others is the preferred option, when travelling in the public space.

That got me thinking about the peaceful feeling of staring out the window of a train, and watching the world go by. Which got me thinking about the Slow Movement and the guy who has really made slow his raison d'etre-- Carl Honore. I first met Carl a couple years ago when he was in Chicago promoting  a book about the Slow Movement, In Praise Of SlowIt's a great read, and a tremendous philosophy.

The movement started in Italy, as a food-oriented concept, and expanded from there. It reminds me of the advice I used to give to a particular client who was especially intense-- extremely successful and really driven: Take time to smell the roses. He finally did, and actually seemed to enjoy life for a few years-- until he reverted to his old ways. I guess it's hard for some people to slow down!

Carl is fond of talking about discovering his "inner tortoise", and while I appreciate the analogy, I would respectfully suggest that it's incomplete-- maybe even unintentionally misleading. We all know that tortoises have a shell, and I-- as an advocate for mindfulness and meditation-- decided to shed my shell, years ago. Granted, the mental image of a tortoise without a shell is not pretty, but it serves to make a point.

Neither mindfulness nor meditation are the same as the Slow Movement, but they share a lot in common, and I choose to honor the similarities. Living the slow life is about noticing, or observing. Being curious. Savoring all the experiences our senses provide us. And that's where it all begins.

The Slow Movement celebrates the present moment as the pinnacle of life, while mindfulness and meditation both celebrate and remind us that the present moment is ephemeral-- it will pass. One might say that mindfulness and meditation are more stoical about the celebration of the present moment, than the Slow Movement. I say, vive la difference !

Mindfulness and meditation, Stoicism (apologies to Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and others), as well as the Slow Movement (apologies to Mr. Honore, and others)-- there is a lot more to be said about each of the different philosophies, but I am suddenly way out over my skiis and think I should quit while I'm ahead (or, at least, not too far behind).

Back to the point of this post: Travel by train-- not by plane!


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