Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A moonlit carriage ride and slowing down

The other night, I went to a birthday party that ended with a horse-drawn carriage ride under a full moon. Despite freezing temperatures, my children, our little dog, and I felt warm under doubled over wool blankets. The clip-clop of horse hooves and the crisp night air lulled me into relaxation.

Out the back of our covered wagon, I watched the moonlit, mountainous landscape pass by, noticing every roadside tree, rock, and snow measuring stick.

Soon, the three-year old child sitting opposite me, fell asleep, her little body nestled at her father's side. As we moved through the wild, mostly uninhabited region behind Lauenen, I thought of my grandfather who had grown up there. I remembered the stories he had told me, including his witnessing the first motorcar to roll into the village. My grandfather died at 95, never driving a car. Yes, he walked a lot.

This carriage ride has prompted me to share a blog with you that I have been following for the past few years. It focuses on some of the same lifestyle values that the older generation of Swiss alpine folk hold dear, such as simplicity, health, frugality, family life, and living in the moment.

It is called Zen Habits, and it's one of the most read blogs on the internet.

I found Zen Habits after googling "organize my life." It appealed to me because of its simple all-white large-font design and for its clear concise writing. I liked the blog's tag-line: "Smile, breathe & go slowly." Come to think of it... it sounds a bit like Gstaad's tourism slogan "Come up, slow down."

Reading his articles leaves me calmer and more relaxed than before. My motivation and productivity has also increased after reading posts on getting things done, how to become an early riser, and how to start a project.
Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits


So, who's this Leo Babauta? In his bio, he writes: "I am is a regular guy, a father of six kids, a husband, a writer." Not only is he a writer, he's a blogger and journalist from Guam who moved to San Francisco in 2010, three years after starting Zen Habits that now has more than 200,000 subscribers. Time Magazine named Zen Habits one of the Top Blogs of 2009.

According to Wikepedia, Babauta's first print book The Power of Less reached the Amazon best-seller list on its first day on the market and remains a top-selling business motivation book.  For more information on Leo Babauta and Zen Habits, click here.

I like Babauta's humble, forgiving, and positive attitude. "I have no claims to perfection," he writes. "I fail all the time, on a daily basis. But I don’t let it stop me." He's not preachy. He shares his struggles and his weaknesses, making him a credible read.

In the meantime, I will try to take time to slow down and enjoy this super-fast world while singing the Simon and Garfunkel song:

"Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.
..."

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