Reclaim the Art of Slowing Down

Susan Narjala   |   March 7, 2023 

Four zucchinis lounge on my kitchen counter awaiting their fate. Soon, they will be peeled, shredded and then folded into a batter of flour, sugar, oil and eggs along with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla.

Their sacrifice will be worth it: The aroma of freshly-baked zucchini bread will waft through my house carrying undertones of spicy cinnamon. When my kids return from school, instead of store-bought biscuits and processed chips, they will be thrilled to discover the zucchini bread, more so because of the generous amounts of chocolate chips I’ll sneak into the batter. I’ve invited a neighbour over this afternoon and I’ll serve some thick slices of the bread to go with steaming cups of coffee.

No, this is not a food blog, but when this month’s writing prompt at IndiAanya included “your favourite place,” my mind skimmed the gamut of fancy restaurants and quaint cafes I’ve visited in the recent past and then landed back on my all-time, hands-down, best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to location: my home.

It’s not that I have a perfect, Pinterest-worthy, Martha Stewarty house filled with fancy artwork and precious porcelain. It’s not even that I bake delicious treats daily so my house smells like butter, sugar and vanilla (although, wouldn’t that be heavenly?). But home is the place where I feel rested and restored. It’s a place of calm and not chaos. It’s a place where I’m learning the art of slowing down and creating moments of stillness. It's a place where I get to do little things that make my house a home.

At the risk of sounding like a housewife from the 1950’s, I’m taking back the joy of creating a home by slowing down.

Some days that looks like gently folding in grated zucchini and waiting for the heat of the oven to turn it into perfectly golden brown bread. On other days it’s as simple as noticing the brilliantly pink bougainvillea sunning themselves on my terrace. Or just breathing in the aroma of my jolt-you-awake-strong coffee dripping into my trusty old pot.

In a world where busyness is viewed as a badge of honour, perhaps the old-fashioned, usually dismissed, inconvenient, time-consuming things like folding the newly washed sheets or whisking together a vinaigrette for the salad (instead of squeezing it out of a bottle) teach us the art of slowing down.

So, this afternoon, I will bake golden zucchini bread from scratch. Maybe I’ll straighten out the snack drawer so it is not a tumble of plastic jars. Perhaps I’ll wipe down a shelf and give some of those dusty plants some TLC. Maybe today I’ll just put my phone away and breathe. I’ll be still and know that He is God. When that truth is deeply implanted in my soul, I am at rest. My home becomes a sanctuary.

Friend, could I invite you to reclaim those quiet moments and simple joys in your home? Could we remind ourselves that we don’t need to rush from one appointment to another, from one to-do to another, from one WhatsApp message to another?

Could we be intentional about creating those cosy corners in our homes? Nooks where we can slow down and be creative? Spots where we can sip a cup of chai and unhurriedly immerse ourselves in a book?

For far too long, I’ve been deadline-driven. But today, I long to be joy-driven.

To me, that looks like unhurried rhythms. A walk in the cold morning air even if my pace feels more like a stroll than a sprint. A break to speak to the aunty in my apartment building who loves sharing stories about her days as a teacher more than thirty years ago. A deep dive into God’s Word. A long entry in less-than-perfect cursive writing in my spiral-bound journal about how He counsels my heart with His truth.

None of those things look important to the world. But those things nourish our souls and our homes.

So today allow yourself to be restored by a slower rhythm. Appreciate the process. Remember the why. Resist the tyranny of the urgent. Remind yourself that your worth doesn’t lie in multi-tasking and checklists. Reclaim those things that make your house a home.



Photo by Miti on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog,

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