Reflections from the “On Being” Episode with Pico Iyer

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon where after good conversations with friends, it seems like the topic of your conversation pops up everywhere. For example, maybe they were talking about their new Golden Retriever puppy and then you see images and information about Golden Retrievers everywhere. 

“This also happens for me around deeper life topics like it did recently for me around the idea of slowing down.

A few months ago, over lunch with a good friend, we talked about how travel is not about rushing from attraction to attraction but to slow down, walk lightly and be intentional about where we are and what we do. We both found it is easier to do that when traveling more so than in our everyday lives. I can spend hours people watching with an espresso in a Prague café but always feel like I need to “productive” with my coffee here at home.

Little did I realized that a podcast that I had already downloaded echoed that sentiment so when I started listening to it later that same day, it felt like a message from the universe. The podcast in question was On Being’s podcast with Pico Iyer. (Full confession: On Being is my go-to podcast).

The wisdom of both of the conversations (the in-person and in-podcast) stopped me in my tracks and made me pause to think about how to live my life. Here are some of the nuggets that have remained with me after listening to the podcast: 

  • “Anybody who travels knows that you aren’t really doing it to move around, you are traveling to be moved.” 
  • “We need to root ourselves in something “out of time” in this accelerated world” 
  • “Education teaches us to talk but not to listen”  
  • “Rediscover the urgency of slowing down” 
  • “We all have something changeless, vast and completely unfathomable inside us. God or whatever…names do not matter but the truth of the divine does. 
  • “Youth seek novelty. As we age, we seek the ordinary” 
  • “The new luxury is free time” 
  • “We have more and more time-saving instruments but less and less time”’ 
  • “Our outer lives are only as good as our inner lives” 
  • “What is essential?”’ 
  • “The wilderness is where one finds illumination” 
  • “live with kindness” 

Perhaps some of these quotes resonate with you. Many people planning a sabbatical often wrestle with the feeling that they need to accomplish something on their pause. They have a list of books to read or people to see as justification for the sabbatical. But what if your pause was planned around slowing down and throwing away the to-do list?  

As you reflect on a different pace in life, what would it take for you to slow down?


Check out the whole On Being episode as well as Pico Iyer’s TED Talk for more inspiration.


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