Smelling the roses is just the beginning...I first read of David Reynold's Constructive Living concepts in a magazine article around 1984. His exercises reminded me of some work I had done in university (20 years before) in Paul Baker's theatre class called "Integration of Abilities." Part of the work in the class involved developing an ever-widening vocabulary to describe our every-day experiences. The result is not only more subtlety of expression but NOTICING MORE! I saw this over time with myself and my classmates, then later with Susan, a high school student where I was the substitute teacher for one of her classes. Susan had a remarkable capacity for observation plus a vast vocabulary to describe her nuanced world. Turns out that as a young child she had been a part of Paul Baker's Children's Theater and had done many of the same exercises I had done. We happily shared our excitement about our every-day observations... and I consider myself still in Baker's class.
That's why I was inspired by the Constructive Living exercises to learn more. And... that's when the first iterations of my own Slow & Behold! exercises began. At first, they were simply typed on little slips of paper and folded and put into a round goldfish bowl for a daily random choice. Over the years I refined the set to include noticing things we see, things we hear, things we feel, things we feel, and things we taste. Yes, all 5 senses.
Research shows that most of us consciously experience only 1 or 2 of our senses. The others become also-rans or simply fall by the wayside. We experience them... we just don't notice them. AND we don't develop a vocabulary to enhance our experiences of them. Leonardo, himself, had noticed this and he also gave himself exercises to inhabit all 5 of his senses. Guess I'm in good company, eh?
Anyhow about 2006, I developed Slow & Behold! into a deck of 60 cards and had them printed. Kate recently reminded me that I still have some of that inventory left, all nicely shrinkwrapped. She's been bugging me to open an Etsy shop and offer them to the public. I have now done that—plus I've made a Slow & Behold! journal to go with the cards. Explore my Etsy shop here. There are a number of other things I've made over the years and I thought it would be fun to share them all in one place.
In the meantime, I invite you to try a Slow & Behold! sample across the bottom of this month's calendar. Try it for a week and see what you think. I'm also offering you a free sample of the PDF journal here. It includes directions.
I'm quite happy with my Etsy shop header. I used a newly developed font for the shop name. It's called Sans Forgetta and it was designed to help you remember what you read. The idea is for students to use it for studying digital notes that they take in class for studying later. Here's the Sans Forgeta story. I love the name! You can download it here for free for both Mac and PC.
If this isn't nice, what is?
~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course