Slowly Learning to Slow Down

[This article originally appeared in German as part of my 100-day writing challenge on December 12th, 2015.]

This topic goes back to Feldenkrais, and his understandning of motor learning - he made it very explicit to refine movements very slowly, before proceeding to regular or even higher speeds.

Very tough for someone like me, who loves to jump in and learn quickly when it comes to movement skills of all sorts.

But fortunately, my son has become an excellent therapist for challenging my pace and developing an appreciation for patient slowness. This is particularly the case during our mountain hikes that we started doing every other week now almost two years ago.

Talking about speed: When I do these hikes by myself, it usually takes me half the time that is posted on the road signs along the trails. It's not that I try to be as fast as possible - it's just that my body eventually finds its own rhythm, and I truly enjoy the steady effort against or with gravity.

In contrast, when I am with my son, it takes us about two to three times as long as estimated on the road signs (it depends how much he actually walks with his canes, and how much he is in his wheelchair). When we started doing these hikes, I sometimes suggested that he can go back into his wheelchair, so that we could advance a little faster (and I could get my kick-ass workout that comes from pushing a wheelchair plus kid uphill).

Until I stopped suggesting it. And his walking distances increased - his personal record is now close to four hours.

Instead of pushing for making headway, I succumbed to his quiet, meditative pace - and now am forever grateful to him.

Every time I walk with him, it's a beautiful reminder to not always hurry to the next place. To actually plan less for the day, and savor the fewer destinations. To not rush people and their learning processes, but rather let myself into them.

I have learned to walk slowly - and I am super proud of it.