How slowing down helped me plan for slow-jewellery and the ‘inner circle’

The universe doesn’t give you what you want. It gives you what you need.  

I’ve just had a week at my sister’s in Jura (if you haven't heard of it, it's a remote Inner Hebridean island off the West coast of Scotland, with more deer than people).

The first two days were glorious. Not just because of the sunshine, stunning blue skies and reciprocal seas (although that definitely played a part). Mainly because I was by myself at the start, for two lovely days.  

I needed to slow down. 

The things is that when it comes to slowing down, I really struggle. First, it’s something that I have to remember. Second, prioritise (clear the diary; more of a wrench than it sounds). Third hone in on, focus towards and celebrate it.   

But I have slowed down. And I feel it. 

Almost as soon as I drove off the ferry and onto the one road that leads from The Wee Ferry to Craighhouse and then onto Knockrome, I started to shed all the armour I’d been clutching as protection from the speed of everything.   

Bright blue sea and yellow boat off-shore in Craighouse, Jura

Now, as I write this, I’m now on the Calmac Ferry back to the mainland. But I’m hoping to hold onto some of the slow stuff. Sitting in the sunshine and watching the birds. Breathing. Climbing over bracken on the hillside on Evan’s Walk, towards a couple of deer, so still, you think they’re a fence post. Staring back at them. Turning round to see an azure blue sea, with its trillion tiny gems sparkling back at the sun. Tucking the sight into the memory bank. Treasuring a squeeze from my niece or nephew, the fleshy softness of their chins and cheeks, a grateful lick from a well-walked dog. Absorbing their smell. The stunning brightness of a million stars in a jet-black sky free from light pollution. A show just for me. 

We have less influence up here. And everything is more surprising because of it, but familiar at the same time. An ancient familiarity: a knowing that this is the way things are meant to be. Simple. And slow.  

I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that for everyone here. But as a visitor – when everything is fresh and new – you can’t bypass it. And it’s been the perfect tonic.  

Slow beach walk with silhouette of shadow-hounds on sun-flooded sand

I savored those first two days especially. For the first time in as long as I can remember, being alone. Just me and the two shadow-hounds in that delightful little vacuum you get when it’s just you and your surroundings. No external expectations, no distractions. Space... to just be. Whatever that is and however it takes your fancy. Eat what you want, when you want. Get up when you fancy and go where you want. Pack up a dinner of chicken and dairy lea sarnies on Jura-bakery rye bread, hot tomato soup and white wine to drink at the top of the hill with a stunning 360-degree view: Paps on one side, 90 degrees of sea on the other. Not needing to be anything other than who you are, doing what you’re doing.  

The thing is, in everyday life, I’m an expert at bending to what my surroundings need me to be; it’s subtle, and most of the time I don’t even realise it’s happening. But it happens: an inherent setting I cannot change. What I actually need is alone-time. And when it comes, it then takes an extended moment of being alone, for me to breathe out, breathe in, and relax into... just being.  

And then inspiration comes. Usually, I want to write. Ergo... 

For me, writing has always been a way to anchor myself. Get things down on paper, discern how I really feel about something, sort out my head, connect back with others and the world.  

It forces me to slow down and take time to listen to myself; put time aside and give it importance. Understand that my thoughts and feelings are worth focusing on, processing... getting out. It actually doesn’t have to be writing, but there’s something in the creative process (whatever that is at the time),and in creating something from nothing. It could be music, making something - anything, painting, dancing... But the process is expression. And the importance of it isn’t about changing the world, it’s in gifting yourself something you need. I feel a huge sense of calmness when I’m writing. And relief when I’ve written.  

And it has to be slow, otherwise it doesn’t work. No time schedule. No start or finish alarm. Being swept into it as it takes you. Consciously taking my finger off the fast forward button, stopping, listening, taking as long as I need. Indulging myself with a few hours to remember what I care about, what makes me tick, what my soul needs and who I actually am (a time being, who needs to do more than rush through life... apparently).  

Honestly though, slowing down is difficult. The world just isn’t built to be slow any more. Everything we do now is so fast and immediate, demanding - without necessarily being deserving of - your attention. We are all speeding through our (already short) lives and losing ourselves in the hurry and immediacy of everything.  

But during this last week, the realisation dawned on me, that I’m drawn to slow things, despite it all. Slow-food (thank you Slovenia), slow-fashion, slow-travel. A little magic in giving all of it, more time. There’s a pattern here; a tug from the deepest part of me towards things that just... take longer. Things that cannot be rushed.  

Slow-food - breakfast in front of the Paps in Jura; hand thrown coffee cup and cereal on sunshine filled decking

Jewellery making is slow, living on a boat on the river is slow,... even my other half is slow (which can be annoying when it’s the washing up. But when he does do it, he does it when he’s good and ready. And he does it mindfully. And, as my friend Sara and I have concluded, we could all learn a thing or two by being a ‘bit more Ryan’).  

These things, slow-by-their-very-nature-things, happen in their own good time. No way of hurrying them along. It takes as long as it takes. Sometimes in your favour, sometimes not (like the slow filling locks on the river: water cannot be rushed). 

In and around my trip to and from Jura and the Inner Hebrides, I’ve also been thinking about Found by Dawn. Designing pieces for my first precious metals collection, thinking about what I want my jewellery brand to stand for, and what I want this new direction to enable – for me... and for you.  

I want to use it as an anchor. An anchor to slow us all down. A monthly opportunity to stop for a second, reflect, focus on the things worth caring about and that give life its beauty and joy. A chance to come back into ourselves, and be slow and appreciative, for a moment or two. 

So, the theme for the Found by Dawn ‘inner circle’, will be “slow”, if that’s okay with you? Those things in and around us, that need a bit more attention. A concentrated moment or two on the bits that sparkle and deserve more of our attention. Slow food, slow fashion, slow life on the river, slow jewellery.... I’m sure there's loads more worth a bit of our time. My friends, family and own inner circle will be part of it all being well (I have a plan for their contributions, not that I’ve told them this yet!). 

If you fancy joining me once a month, I’d love to have you with me - become part of my inner circle! You can add your email address to receive my monthly email by scrolling down to 'Join the inner circle' (look out for the verification message too to confirm you genuinely want to hear from me - this keeps the spam out!) 

And, let me know, what do you think is worth spending some slow-time on? Message me @FoundbyDawn on Facebook or Instagram, or email dawn@foundbydawn.co.uk 

I, for one, need this.

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1 comment

  • Beautiful Dawn, makes me relax just reading it. If you need more slow time, just come here, nothing is ever rushed, we don’t do quickly. Take care x

    Angela

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