Slow living guru Carl Honoré joins me in conversation about the great pause happening during COVID-19. In this episode we explore the challenges and opportunities of living at a slower pace, our new relationship with time and the impact this has on home and work.
*Full transcript is available at the bottom of this page.
[Website] Carl Honoré
You can learn more about Carl on his website.
His internationally bestselling books are widely available in bookstores or online.
[Free Resource] 101 Tips for Finding Calm
I’ve pulled together 101 tips for finding calm in the chaos. Check this out for guided meditations, articles, podcasts and other free resources
Something to think about:
Finish this sentence:
What insight does this give you about the perspective you hold about time?
Something to try:
Let go of your clock for a day.
Move at the tempo guisto.
Trust that your body knows what is right for you.
Create a mindmap of the most essential routines, habits, practices and mindsets that will serve you post pandemic.
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE
Scroll on down to the comments section and share your thoughts….
Have you been having a slow living experience during COVID-19?
What have insights have you had into slow living?
What are your thoughts about getting older?
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Show Transcript
Intro: Welcome to The Being and The Doing. Here’s your host, author, and life coach, Laurel Vespi.
Laurel: Hey, lovely ones. Welcome to Episode 33 of The Being and The Doing. I hope that you are staying safe and being well as we continue to navigate Covid-19 and all of the challenges and opportunities that it brings to us today. I have a real treat for you. I’m in conversation with Carl Honore. Carl is an award-winning writer and broadcaster and Ted speaker, what I call the guru of the slow movement. He’s the author of the international bestselling book, In Praise of Slow. And in that book, he really encourages us to slow down and by doing that, we begin to move at a more thoughtful and intentional pace at work and at home. His latest book is called Boulder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives and it sort of takes on the question of what does it mean to become older and how is it that we can do that better and feel better about the fact that we are indeed getting older. Carl comes to us today from his home in London, England.
Hi, Carl. Welcome to The Being and The Doing.
Carl: Hi, good to be here.
Laurel: I’m really looking forward to this conversation with you because I just think that you bring such an interesting perspective to what it is that’s happening in the world. And I’m not sure what your preferred title is; if Guru of the slow movement is one that makes you feel okay or how it is you like to capture that idea that you were really, way back there, I don’t know, I think the In Praise of Slow came out like what 2003, 2004 somewhere around there?
Carl: 4, yeah. I was the lonely pioneer back then.
Laurel: I was going to say you were way ahead of the curve there. So, I heard earlier this week and I thought it was an interesting phrase that what is happening is being referred to as the great pause and how is it that you are looking at this in terms of the instantaneous slow movement that’s happening globally?
Carl: Yeah, there’s this sort of weird irony going on at the moment. I mean, I’ve been calling for a great pause for years now and I tell you, this is not what I had in mind when I was doing that. Of course, this is an ordeal, right? This is a nightmare. And for some people, it’s going to be really hard to find a silver lining and there are a lot of people suffering economically, just all kinds of different ways, right? Not everybody is having the same lockdown and experience as everybody else. But as the natural-born optimist and someone who is prone to look for the silver lining, I do think that this could be good for us, collectively in the long run. There were many trends already building up and bubbling of the culture before Covid19 hit. People asking questions, challenging the idea that faster is always better. That we must consume more and more and work longer and longer.
There was even in the world of technology, there were the beginnings of a rethink about how often we want to be on screens, a world of education, trying to slow down children’s experience of the world and give them more space to play freely. And all these things that were kind of under the rubric or the umbrella of the slow movement. We’re growing strongly in the culture, but now I think because we are all being forced into stopping, it’s hard to imagine we’ll come out of this unchanged. And I don’t have a crystal ball, I don’t know exactly what the new normal, even the word here, the new world that emerges from this afterward is going to look like but I find it hard to believe that we won’t learn some lessons from this. Because what this is doing, whether we like it or not, is that it is forcing us to pause. It’s forcing us to do something. We have almost lost the habit of doing as a culture and that’s reflecting; asking bigger questions, going deeper, grappling with those questions, like, who am I? What’s my purpose here? Am I living in the right life for me? How can I be a better parent, partner, neighbor, friend, employee, boss, citizen? And those questions, I think a lot of us are starting to confront and that’s going to add up to a change, I think on the macro level when we get out of this.
Laurel: It’s interesting though and you’re right, like, we’re all in the same boat, but I kind of think of it as a cruise ship, although that may not be the best metaphor to use these days. But we’re all on the same cruise ship, but we’re not all on the same deck. Like some people are finding this great pause is like you’re sitting on the Lido deck with a cocktail and it’s great and other people are way down in the bowels of the ship thinking, I don’t know how to handle this. Because it seems like for some people this great pause is like, yes, I can really lean into that to either practice I already have about asking great questions or begin to deepen them. But for other people, there is this uncomfortableness of, Holy smokes, I don’t know how to be with myself. And start to ask those questions.
Carl: Yeah. I think what crises tend to do is shine a light on what was already there before. So people who had taken steps towards reconnecting with their inner tortoise, whatever the phrase you want to use is, you know, slowing down and asking questions, reflecting more, those people will have entered this crisis better equipped to deal with it, to carve out this time, to use these extra hours forced upon us by being stuck at home and not being able to commute or walk, shopping or what all the things we use do before and not funnel that time into box sets on Netflix. To take some of that time and to devote it to reflection and thought and contemplating the big picture and asking those questions.
So yeah, not everybody will find it as easy as other people, that reflection thing but I think that as human beings, we need that reflection. I think it’s something that is part of our Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a life well lived is the examined life and that so much of modern, the world we were in before Covid hit us, conspired against that. It militated against pause, silence, serenity, looking inward reflection. It was all about shiny, superficial, noisy, outside, external, all that stuff. And I think that’s going to be the big reset here is that you know, we’re suffering. This is difficult, I’m suffering too. This is not a picnic, but there are things I think that many of us will come out with on the other end that are healthy and more humane.
I don’t know, are we going to want to go back and spend all that time looking at influencers or is that $300 handbag going to seem as sensible as it did before Covid? I think a lot of things are going to look very different in a different light when we are finally allowed to emerge blinking from our bunkers into the world again. The other thing, of course, is that you put your finger out there that there’s this social injustice, right? The fact that wealth in our society is so unevenly and unfairly distributed. That is something else that this Covid epidemic has put under the microscope. We’re realizing that people who were hitherto described as unessential are clearly essential. They are the people who are holding the thing together. So again, I feel like there’s going to be a lot of collective political, cultural, social, moral pressure to rethink how we spread out the spoils of capitalism; this kind of consumer culture.
And so even people who are at this moment, struggling at home, can’t make ends meet, worrying about how to get food on the table next time and they probably aren’t thinking about how to rejig the socio-economic paradigm where you live in, you know, I think that the whole ship of humanity will be forced to rethink and those people will get, I’m hoping, a better shake and a better deal when we get out of this.
Laurel: We certainly hope so because, you know, as you said, it’s like the light has been shown on what is essential how much is enough, how often do you actually have to go to the grocery store. As time goes on, here you and I are doing extreme social distancing. We have almost a continent and a whole ocean apart from us, you being in London, me being in Edmonton, we are really keeping a safe space here between us.
Carl: There is no infection.
Laurel: We’re not contaminating. It’s good, I feel good about that. Hold the distance. But we’re moving into week six now of a stay at home and I imagine you must be, you know, a similar amount of time if people are beginning to kind of create the, I’m not sure about that phrase, the new normal of what does it mean to be at home and what is it that I need and simpler things. Even the kind of a fascination everyone has with jigsaw puzzles now, it is amazing because there is just an activity, very mindful, you’re not being consumed by thoughts, you’re just focusing on shapes and colors.
Carl: The ultimate zen moment.
Laurel: It is, it is.
Carl: I have a thousand pieces around the kitchen table as we speak.
Laurel: Great. It is cool. I love your optimism Carl, but I’m curious about and what will happen. You know, there was this study that was done back in I think, 2014 at the University of Virginia where they were giving people like little mild electric shocks and then – you might be familiar with that study – that people were more willing to have a little shock than they were to just sit and be quiet with their own thoughts. And I wonder, how long do we have to be in this space, this quieter, simpler slower space to begin to allow people to think, you know what, this is actually a really great way of being, or will there be this rush back to the adrenaline of what was before?
Carl: I think it’s probably gonna be a mixed picture and it’s hard to say exactly how long you need to be in that slow space in order to get past the reflex to reach for the electric shock. Which is a kind of metaphor for modern life, you just go from one dopamine squirt to the next. Which of course is immensely unfulfilling and unhealthy, but it’s a hamster wheel. I mean, the whole speed culture is an addiction. It’s a kind of physical, emotional, intellectual, metaphysical addiction; addiction doesn’t get broken overnight. It’s a process of weaning yourself off; you go from heroin to methadone. Some people never get over an addiction or they always have to be aware that they might fall back.
So I don’t think there’s a kind of straightforward playbook for how we get out of this and how we keep the slow thing going. But I do think that there is something about this particular crisis, and it’s hard to say for sure, I mean, we’re right in the middle of it. So it’s always hard to be certain about what something means when you’re actually going through it in the eye of the storm. But I feel that there’s a qualitative difference about this crisis that will move the dial for many, many, many people and I think for us, collectively. I mean, before this all happened, whenever I looked into how people would finally break out of Roadrunner mode and start embracing a more balanced way of living and the whole slow side of life, it very often took a shock to the system or a crisis or a wake-up call, right?
Eventually, health would break down. You’d have burnout or you couldn’t get out of bed one morning or something like that would shake you out of that addiction mode and you start changing. In a way, I think Covid is doing that to us, collectively. We’re all different, we’re all going to respond differently, but we’ve all got that crisis thrust upon us now. So the question then becomes what do we do with it? And you can already see changes. Just one little data point; I noticed today one of the headlines of the BBC is that people are reading more books than ever before. Like the book reading thing has spiked and that’s come later in our lockdown. We’re now four and a half weeks in here in the UK and at the beginning, it was Netflix, right?
It was gaming, online gaming, kind of in a sense the sort of fast distraction stuff a little bit. I watch box sets and I’m breaking bad I think is high art but there are only so many box sets you could watch. There’s only so much time you could spend in front of a screen. And there is something about that simple, unmediated, zen-like, calm of reading, reading a book, a physical book in your head. It’s a bit like doing a puzzle. It’s a similar sort of effect I think. And it’s interesting to see that now as we get a month in, that you’re starting to see a spike. People actually reaching up to the bookshelf, pulling down a tome that they’ve probably been looking at and feeling guilty about, not reading for years. Now they’re digging into Ulysses or whatever it happens to be. So, these changes are coming, who knows how much longer we’re going to be locked down. Yeah. I mean, this is the optimistic take, right? Is that we will learn some of these lessons that they will stick.
Laurel: Yeah. Well and I think too, that, maybe, in the beginning, and again, we’re sort of talking about that slice of the population where they’re not just in full-on survival mode, where both parents are now working at home and the kids are at home and just trying to survive or having lost a job or whatever, that may actually feel busier than ever. That for some people, I wonder if they’ve moved from a slower existence to a now much more frenetic kind of existence because all of the things that they used to do in order to be able to kind of have that calmer, gentler lifestyle has just been, you know, the rug has been yanked out and so now it’s like, wow! I went from slow to fast.
Carl: I think in a way, it is a weird paradox there. I mean, the whole kind of fast existence, if you like, if you use fast as a shorthand for a whole way of being and in the world, it’s very much the fight or flight. You’re locked into that high energy, high adrenaline, some of your systems are switched down, you’re focused on getting through this moment and stuff. And that’s kind of what Covid is for some of us, day in and day out. I think a lot of us are, even those of us who were, you know, material comfort and have homes that are okay and we don’t need to worry about our next meal. There’s still an element of the fight or flight, just throbbing away below the surface there. And I do think that that militates against slowing down, definitely. That kind of, we were all a little bit scared, I think. Let’s just be honest about it. And fear is the worst enemy of slow in a sense. It’s certainly the short term, it gets to the way of…it stops us reflecting. It stops us from being creative. It stops us from seeing the big picture. We just get our heads down and plow on to get through the moment. And I think that is conspiring against some of the possible upsides of this moment of enforced slowness.
Laurel: Right. Well, and I know even for myself, you go to the grocery store and you are doing all of the things that you’re supposed to do and the grocery store is doing all of their things that they are supposed to do and you understand that the environment is being controlled as best it can. But there’s still, as it sits, kind of sits on your shoulder a little bit. Like, okay, where is that virus in here? It’s sitting on the bananas or like where is it?
Carl: Yeah, exactly. It’s always there in the back of your mind.
Laurel: But I wonder too the impact on workplaces. Now that for many workplaces transitioning to workers being at home for those that aren’t essential services, what elements of slowness now can move back into the workplace? Because I think companies are finding, Whoa, like, our employees actually can work from home and be productive and maybe even in a shorter workday. I don’t have all of the other distractions of what’s going on in the office. I actually can get more done in a day or be done earlier in the day.
Carl: Which is the slow philosophy, in a nutshell, is when you give people control, when you have control over your own time, your own rhythms, you decide when to go fast, when to go slow, when to lean in, when to lean back. When you’ve got that temporal autonomy, that’s when you can unleash all of the good stuff, that’s when the creativity flows. That’s when you get stuff done. That’s when you make connections. That’s where you join up the dots and so on. So traditional workplace really works against that so often because we’re at the mercy of other people’s schedules. Their distractions where, you know, we may want our body, our mind, our soul may be crying out for us to take a break, but we don’t do it because we’re worried that person sitting across from us will raise an eyebrow or say, Oh, going for another break, are we now? You know, just make a little joke about how we’re slacking or we’re not keeping our end of the bargain up.
And I think what a lot of people are learning now is when you’ve got control over your own time, you actually get a lot more done better and you often get it done faster. But this is what I see describe as the delicious paradox of slow. By slowing down, doing things mindfully, one thing at a time, at the right moment, at the right, speed for you, et cetera. Not only do you get better results, you often get them more quickly. In other words, in order to speed it up, you have to slow down. Or another way I think of it is that in a world addicted to speed, slowness is a superpower.
And I think a lot of companies and individual employees are discovering that through real hands-on experience. It’s one thing to read about it in my book or a business magazine making the case for giving people control over their time but it’s another thing to go through it and people are going through it now. So when they go back and we could get out of our houses and go out back into the world again, I think it’s hard to imagine that we’ll just forget all that, forget all those lessons and go back to the way it was. I suspect that a lot of companies, a lot of employees will say, hang on, let’s just push pause here again and rethink how we want to work from now on. Do we want to have all of our staff spending hours and hours and hours every week commuting? Perhaps we could cut that in half, do some in the office, some at home.
And I think we’ll see a lot more of that. And I think it’s going to be an immensely healthy and welcome shift for people’s wellbeing for productivity. It’s gonna be good for the economy in general. It’s going to be good for all of us individually. So that’s one change that I see coming. Another, it’s maybe one that I hadn’t even sort of thought of in advance before because I talk about the benefits of slowing down before Covid, a lot of it was about people’s health and their ability to listen and connect and make teams and collaborate and be productive and great of a dah, dah, dah. But what I’m noticing now is that there’s been almost like a reclaiming of humanity in business because we are all are a little bit afraid, we’re all at home.
You get on the Zoom chats now and you can see people’s children in the background or you see a tear in the wallpaper. Everybody is more humanized now. You know that guy over there, it’s not just a lawyer anymore, he’s a father, right? Or he’s got a partner at home or he’s living with elderly parents. And you find people also starting off conversations and asking, how are you doing? What’s going on? And actually clearly interested in the answer and wanting to tell how they feel and also vulnerability. People saying I’ve not been feeling so great. I’m feeling a bit low today or I was actually a bit ill yesterday. And these things I think are rehumanizing our everyday relations and they’re rehumanizing business, which I think again can be a hugely, hugely powerful lesson to learn and something we should preserve and carry forward beyond this moment of darkness.
Laurel: I think for many people in the past, they perhaps felt that there were parts of themselves that they couldn’t bring to work. There are parts of yourself that you just leave at home, I don’t bring that part of myself to work. And now, that sort of, the walls are taken down a little bit, it’s like all parts of ourselves are there. And I agree with you about that humanizing, that we begin to see that people are not just the role that they play at work. That they have all of these other roles and interests and passions and fears and joys and all of that altogether. And the other comment that I’ve heard a lot is wow, we’re really realizing how many meetings we don’t need to have. Now that meetings are a little more challenging to organize. It’s like, you know what, we didn’t really need a meeting for that. Which given how dysfunctional many workplace meetings are that in and of itself might just be a game-changer for people.
Carl: A big win. Because so many workplaces are just the ultimate black holes of time. They just sit there sucking up hour after hour. And anyone who’s spent any time at any office knows that most meetings are not that useful and life would go on much better without them. And here we are, as you say, we’re now that we’re seeing what it’s like not to have them, will we go back to having them again? I kind of doubt it.
Laurel: Yeah. I kind of doubt it too because you spend so much time in meetings and people think meetings are so unproductive. Wow, like, there’s a real loss of productivity. It’s like we’re having a whole new relationship with time. It’s like we ditched our old-time partner and now we’re dating this whole new time partner of, you know, it can be easier and the clock doesn’t have to dictate in the same way that it did. Maybe it’s a kinder, gentler partnership we with time.
Carl: It’s also a more natural and fluid one. And it’s one that’s really always been with us throughout human history until the industrial era came. Well, obviously, in the medieval times they had clocks in the town square. But it wasn’t really until the 19th century that everybody began wandering around with a clock on their wrist and having schedules and worrying about being late and all that stuff. And that’s a relatively new and modern invention. So the natural state for human beings is to move in their own rhythms; to eat when you’re hungry, to sleep when you’re tired, to get up when you’re rested, to work and toil when you’ve got the energy to, to rest when you need to. You know, that’s just been the way of the world since day one.
Until we got into this fast forward modern paradigm that we’ve been locked in for the last century and a half. And at what Covid is doing in a sense is it’s resetting that. It’s kind of forcing us to go back or allowing us maybe. Let’s put a more hopeful spin on it, allowing us to just experiment with what that might feel like. And I think like, you use the dating metaphor, I think anytime you to ditch the old partner and go for a new one, there’s a kind of rush of excitement. But there are sort of some worries and a little anxiety at the beginning and I think that’s natural. I think it’s the same with this, something that we’ve been given control over our time in a way that would have seemed unimaginable two months ago. And it could be a bit overwhelming and disconcerting, but at the same time, I think more and more people are thinking, yeah, I kinda like this. I could see that this makes all kinds of sense and why don’t we try and maybe keep a little bit of it alive when we go back out of our houses again.
Laurel: Yeah. I always loved, you know, you use that phrase tempo giusto and I’ve always loved that sort of perspective of, you know, ‘slow’ doesn’t mean always at a snail’s pace. It means like being able to adjust to the rhythms of you know, in the demands of what’s called for at the time. And maybe this is the way in which we can all sort of learn to embrace and see the power in that moving at sort of the right pace. What’s right for you.
Carl: Exactly. Yeah. We’re all experiencing that right now. So that means it’s on us to defend it when the shutters go up again.
Laurel: Before we have to wrap up, I did want to just ask you your thoughts about the whole age piece around Covid. Your new book, Boulder, is just a lovely, lovely invitation into looking at aging. Like what does that mean and what are the labels and what’s possible in there. Just there seems to be a bit of a stigma of age around Covid. That it’s just the old people dying somehow that that’s okay. And I wonder what are you thinking about that, just through that lens of a new book that you’ve just written about this?
Carl: Yeah, it’s an interesting moment, isn’t it? I mean, on one hand, of course, yes, people over 70, statistically, are much more vulnerable, but not all. I mean, I think it’s 5% of Covid deaths the last figures I saw are of young, healthy people who have no underlying health conditions. So, yes, there’s a preponderance of people over 70 who are dying from it but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are out completely, we get a free pass. Which we’re still all playing Russian roulette. The odds are better for us, but that we’re still all in it together. And so I think what does that do? I mean, I guess there seem to be two strands appearing in cultures from North America and Europe beyond those who want to keep the lockdown and this whole kind of idea of opening up and without necessarily saying it explicitly sort of saying, well, we’ll just herd immunity or a lot of people die who are older and that’s kind of a price we have to pay.
It seems to me, I haven’t really done a proper survey, but it seems to be that those voices are coming more from the kind of conservative right. Which maybe says something about the kind of ideological split there, but I don’t know. Again, I feel like there’s another side to this, which is that there’s an awful lot of talk about the importance of intergenerational solidarity. And in a way, I think what Covid can do and maybe is already doing for some people is reminding us that in a way we are all in it together. That if you look at the figures in favor of the lockdown, they’re still after four weeks here in the UK and I think they’re still pretty high still in Canada for six weeks, people still believe in staying home. And the reason they’re staying home has to be that they understand that that one segment of the population is more vulnerable and that they’re willing to take a hit, give up things in order to protect them.
So, I don’t know, I feel like there are some people who probably maybe see an interest in driving a wedge between generations, but I don’t know, I’m feeling hopeful actually I must say about it. I feel like generally speaking, the conversations I’m hearing, the things I’m seeing in the media, the stuff I’ve been seeing online, that people are, you know, cause, of course, we all…two things to remember. You know, most of us have an elderly person in our lives who is not just a statistic but is a real person to us, whether it’s a grandparent or a mentor or a friend or a neighbor or something. And I think that’s present for people that they’re not thinking about numbers, they’re thinking about Auntie Mabel or whatever. So I think that’s something to cultivate. And also, we’ve got Covid now what do we have 20, 30 years now? You know, you may be 25 30 and much less likely to get sick now, but 30 years from now, you’re going to be old too. So again, that sort of longer horizon way of thinking about it. I hope that’s what we come out with more of at the end of this is more of that kind of idea of we are all in this together and that to be discriminating against people who are older than us is in effect a form of self-harm. We’re actually discriminating against our future self.
Laurel: Yeah. And I do think, certainly here in Canada, I think there has been a sort of, I want to say a renewed appreciation for our elders and what it is that our elders, you know, how is it that we do treat that population and are there ways in which, perhaps, we can step into a space of greater honoring of elders. I have to say too though, that when they first started describing Covid and like it’s more dangerous for elderly people those 60 and over and I really thought of your book Carl, because it’s like I just turned 61 and elderly is not a word. Like I was like, what? It’s like, okay, wait. Pushing that further ahead. But I did really think of your book when that was, I was like, cause you talk about all of that language that we use around people who are older and it was like, well wait a minute. I don’t think I’m elderly.
Carl: Yeah. I mean, in the book I don’t use the word old really at all. I tend to use the word older because old feels to me like the Terminus, right? Or it’s the last chapter, they’ll find a lap. It’s sort of some endpoint. Whereas we’re all older, we’re all on a continuum. As long as we’re alive, we’re older than we were yesterday, we’re older than the people who are younger than us and tomorrow, we’ll be older than we are. So it’s just, I don’t know, old felt sort of fixed. It felt like it was locking us into some of those toxic stereotypes. So yeah, it’s interesting, some of the language. I noticed that there was a lot of talk in the…British media started off with the whole elderly thing and now, they’re tending to talk more about older people. It’s interesting.
Laurel: Maybe it’s your influence, Carl.
Carl: I wonder if maybe it’s just by osmosis they picked up on some of this language talk, but it seems to be much more…because a lot of people are dying in their 60s, who clearly are… I mean even 20 years ago, you wouldn’t have said someone in their 60s as elderly. So you know, they seem to have moved away from that endpoint word elderly. But the other thing I noticed here, I think I’ve heard some of the things going on in Canada is that people…I mean, I live in central London and even though we’re all crammed together, we don’t tend to know our neighbors that well or how much to do with them. And yet all these streets now have their own WhatsApp groups and people are really going out of their way to do shopping for the older people who are self-isolating and can’t get out.
And we’re meeting people, few houses up the street that we’ve only just sort of seen in passing before getting to know them and stuff. And so again, I think it’s going to break down some of these physical and social barriers that have existed between generations as we’ve in the last 30 years, especially I think siloed ourselves off into age ghettos. What Covid is doing in some ways, in a weird sort of way, paradoxically as it locks us into our own homes, it’s actually freeing us from those age silos and knocking down those barriers and allowing us to see each other. To know each other across the age divide, which is going to be a really healthy thing for us as we move forward.
Laurel: And you certainly in the UK have this beautiful symbol of Captain Tom Moore and making his laps and like just amazing. If anybody, listeners, if you haven’t seen Captain Tom Moore and his walker making his laps, raising money for the National Health Service. First, it just seemed like just such a lovely, charming man. And there he is out there doing his thing and the last I heard, I know it was like more than 20 million pounds he’d raised.
Carl: I know, it’s unbelievable. I think he was expecting to raise a thousand pounds. And as you say, it’s over 20 million now.
Laurel: It just shows…because the strength of that man, you know, it’s not his physical strength that, you know, 99 approaching a hundred, doing his little laps. You see it in his face, in his eyes that he’s just such a just a tour de force. What a lovely, lovely person.
Carl: It’s the strength of will and spirit. And it’s such a joyous reminder that you’re never too old to make a difference, to get up in the morning and do something. And talk about examples, we’ve got the queen.
Laurel: Oh my goodness!
Carl: She’s 94. She’s been probably the most calming, sensible, grounded, intelligent voice in the establishment in the world of authority in Britain. I mean, we’ve got this chaotic government here and Boris Johnson, of course, went into the hospital and hasn’t been seen since. So there’s a sense of a rudderless government flailing around a little bit and she has just emerged again as this presence, this solid being, this beacon. Hope and sensibleness and not quite stiff upper lip, a little bit of stiff upper lip, but you know, also talking about emotions and how people are feeling and stuff. So yeah. So we’ve got all these many reminders around us now that the idea that we should be euthanasing people after a certain age or we should be writing them off because they were born this year or earlier, just seems even more preposterous and poisonous than it did before.
Laurel: Yeah. Lovely. Well, Carl, I’ve so appreciated you taking the time to be in conversation with me and bring your perspective on these just interesting, interesting times. I never imagined that I’d be living in a time that really does feel like it’s a Netflix movie. That like all of these, you know, it’s just so strange and whether you invoke to this…actually, my husband, about five years ago, he said, we need a paradigm shift. We need something just to rattle everybody to step back and really take a look at what are we doing and why are we doing things and how are we doing things? So, I don’t know if you and he somehow conspired to create this.
Carl: Well, I kind of hope that the financial crisis of 2007/8 would do that, but we wasted that crisis. Hopefully, we won’t do the same with this one.
Laurel: Yeah. So be safe and be well and I look forward to whatever the next thing is that you’re going to be writing about because you write so beautifully and really have a sort of a, not just a call to action for us, but sort of a call to our higher selves, whether it’s about slow movement or whether it’s about, how it is that we look at aging and becoming older. You always have something beautiful to bring to the table, so thank you for that.
Carl: Thank you. Thank you. I’ve enjoyed chatting immensely. Thank you very much. And you stay well too.
Laurel: I will, I will. Well, lovely ones, I always appreciate being in conversation with Carl. We first met back in 2013 when he was on tour promoting his book, The Slow Fix, another book that he’s written on the topic of how we manage in a world that’s addicted to speed. But I had long appreciated his work before we actually met. If you haven’t read any of Carl’s books or watched his Ted talks, I really encourage you to do that. I’m going to leave links in the show notes for you. Please check them out. And maybe me being in conversation with Carl has sparked a comment or a question in you. So please scroll down in the show notes and join the conversation and share your thoughts or your questions by posting a comment.
So as always let me leave you with a little bit of homework, something to think about and something to try. So homework is just a way for you to deepen your learning a little bit on today’s topic and then take that awareness into action. It’s great for us to have awareness, but we want to move our awareness into action and in doing that, we then create new awareness. So something to think about, finish this sentence: Time is____________
So your answer to that question, ‘Time is________
We give you a little bit of insight into your perspective that you’re holding on time and get curious about that. Is this a perspective that serves you? So a perspective is simply a spot that we’re standing on, a way of looking at something. And if our particular perspective on something is serving us, it empowers us, it encourages us to move forward, then it’s great. And if it’s not, if it is holding us back, if it’s keeping us stuck somewhere, then know that perspective can be shifted and you can begin playing with other perspectives.
So think about this question: Time is__________________
Maybe repeat it a few times. Maybe you have different perspectives on time.
And then something to try. Let your clock go for a day. Now I get maybe for you in this challenging time that that feels not possible but play with it. Maybe let your clock go for a portion of the day and just trust that your body’s going to tell you what it is that’s right for you at any particular time of the day. It’s this idea of being able to move at tempo giusto that right pace for you. So play with it and see what happens. If you just let your clock go for a day.
So until next time lovely ones, please be well, be safe, be kind, and remember that we are all in this together, that we are all having a shared experience even though our experiences are not the same, we’re all navigating these times together. If you’re in need of help, please ask for it. If you’re able to give help, please offer it. See you next time.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host, Laurel Vespi. If you like this podcast, stop whatever you’re doing, unless you’re driving, and hit subscribe, leave a review, then share this episode with a friend. Thanks for your support.