Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life
by Waverly Fitzgerald
Priestess of Swords Press, 2007
184 pps, $19.95
Three words for Waverly Fitzgerald’s Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythms of Life: It’s about time! I say this not to just make bad puns, but as a long-time follower of Fitzgerald’s School of the Seasons, I had read about this, her upcoming book, for some time and eagerly awaited it.
It was worth the wait. Fitzgerald breaks the book up into twelve weeks of lessons, but one can easily read the whole book in a few sittings as her concepts about time are both fascinating and illuminating. The author offers a number of different calendar options and time logs that one can keep, from a daily journal to a seasonal graph. She even offers her own “creative calendar” where she creates a large collage of the twelve months ahead, using pictures and images that convey the goals of each month.
Realistically speaking, it turns out that most people simply try to pack in more into their schedule in one week than 168 hours can possibly hold. Fitzgerald discusses a number of techniques to resolve this issue, often citing other compelling sources she has come across. For example, the author suggests Barbara Sher’s (Wishcraft) idea of a “love showdown” where for one week you give up a half-hour activity that you do for others and replace it instead with something you love to do.
Fitzgerald has researched much about the body’s own rhythm in relationship to time, including circadian rhythms and also ultradian rhythms – a concept I had never heard of – which is like a clock within the body clock. I was pleased to find out that although eight hours of sleep was both optimum and necessary, one need not sleep eight hours straight through to achieve this. Blocks of sleep in four hours and another four hours are apparently perfectly acceptable, something this reviewer with a penchant for “pre-sleep naps” was happy to learn about.
The author stresses that her solutions to the challenge of keeping on a schedule are unique and any one reader’s experiences may be different. For example, Fitzgerald cites January as the “empty month” in her own life, one where not much happens and planning for the more active months later in the year occurs. For me, this structure would not be efficient as January is often the time of initiating new projects that just seem to manifest for me at the end of the year. And while autumn is the author’s favorite time for focused activity, for this reviewer, autumn is a time of review and letting go.
This book was a pleasure to read as it both entertained as well as encouraged me to reframe my constructs of time, and in fact I actually found time to read this amidst the busy holiday season, which speaks volumes about this book’s obvious appeal.
Review by Diane Saarinen