‘smile, breathe and go slowly.’
Maybe you have a certain opinion about me just because I am a yoga teacher. For example, I must be a very patient person. Let me tell you: this is not always true.
Of course, when I teach yoga, meditation and mindfulness I fully embody this quality. Also, I’m patient in many areas of my life much more than I used to be. It all depends where you are coming from, right? Sometimes Boris is joking with me: asking me why I am not more patient, if all of the yoga and meditation is not helping yet? Then I tell him that I had to come a long way and that actually I’m doing quite good already. In some situations is easier to be patient than in other situations. I’m sure you can relate to that.
Let me tell you a few things that I have experienced here in Portugal about slow living and how I’m practicing patience in different areas of my life. Since we started living here we had to do a lot of things that one needs to arrange when living in a new place, from electricity for the apartment, to health insurance and so on. To my surprise it seems to be common here to actually go to an office and arrange those things in person. When we got the keys for the apartment we literally walked by the offices for water and electricity. Since you do not make appointments for those visits you just have to wait until its your turn. Everyone is doing it and nobody seems to be in a hurry at all. At first I thought this is an exception but we have done the same thing for a bank account, residence permit and so on.
Maybe it’s because we can’t figure out how to do it online, or this is just the way it works here. Of course it takes more time to walk to the offices, wait in line, talk to the person, find out you miss a document, return with the right document and finally get things done. But it also has a wonderful quality of patience and social connection, plus we get to have a nice walk through the city. I learned to enjoy those time consuming tasks and Boris likes to say: “we are not waiting” (when we are waiting somewhere again) “we enjoy being in this moment.”
Another little detail about how nice it is to slow down and feel connected to the people around you is this: Whenever I walk through the city and I come close to a pedestrian crossing (zebrapad) and I mean I just come close, I’m not even making an attempt to cross yet, a nearby car will already slow down and it will certainly stop if I decide to cross the road. The drivers here are so considerate, they stop for you to cross the road all the time. It feels like people are taking good care of each other.
I could continue writing many stories about the kindness of the people we’ve met here. And I think kindness towards our fellow people has a lot to do with the pace of life. And the pace of life is certainly slower and calmer in the countryside. Let me tell you about our lovely neighbors and how they have helped us already countless times. Not only do they regularly and patiently help us to understand how things work here in Portugal, for example why our electricity bill is so high. But she is also helping me to learn Portuguese.
By the way, learning a new language requires a lot of patience and that’s something I still struggle with. I enjoy learning Portuguese, but the progress is so slow and it needs so much effort. A few months ago I bought a novel (in Portuguese) and I started ‘reading’ it. I’m on page four… and it took me forever to get there. I had to basically translate very single word with an app. Here my patience still has a lot of room for improvement. And that’s what I try to do: I just practice Portuguese every day, knowing things will progress when you do them regularly.
Now I have not even told you about how living without a car is also a great way to slow down your live. For more than a month we did not have a car, nor a bike. So I walked to the supermarket, I walked to see my friends, I walked to the beach, I walked everywhere. Then we had a car for a few days when Boris came back from the Netherlands. But now our car needs to go through a lot of procedures and paperwork before it is registered here and we can actually use it. I will spare you the details on how complicated it is to bring a car from the Netherlands to Portugal.
Right now the car is parked in front of our apartment and we can’t use it. The interesting thing is that we also have no clue how long this process might take. It could be one more week it could be another month. All we can do is to patiently accumulate all the paperwork and hope for the best. Luckily Boris does the paperwork, so I just have to practice patience.
Some days I find myself being in a hurry and wanting things to go faster. I want to finally find a property to buy, to start our retreat center, to have our car ready and so many other things. And on other days I absolutely enjoy the slow pace of life and that things take time. On those days I feel fully content and joyful with the way things are. And so I practice to be more in the present moment and let life unfold the way it does. Even when it goes slowly.
However fast or slow your life is going right now, I’m sending you lots of love and all the patience you need for your life situation.
P.S. I started offering live online classes a few weeks ago and it is a great success. It feels so good to see each other, practice yoga together and have a chat afterwards. You can practice yoga with me every Tuesday and Thursday at 20:30. It is super easy to subscribe for one class at a time. You will find all the information on our website: Click here
Portugal, May 2021