Slowing Down

Suggested price: $119.00

Lifestyles that center the consumption of goods and services as a means of achieving satisfaction leave many people anxious and unfulfilled. These same lifestyles contribute significantly to many of the social and environmental challenges we face in today’s world. This six-week online course creates a supportive, interactive space for participants to explore their relationships with the goods and services they use and to actively ponder what it would mean to slow down their lives. The course starts on August 22, 2020. Scroll down for details on course goals, schedule, format, and pricing. Pay what you can, using the following sliding scale as a guide. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

  • Very low income: $29
  • Low income: $59
  • Middle income: $119
  • Upper-middle income: $239
  • High income: $479 or more

Minimum price: $0.00

Category:

Description

Lifestyles that center the consumption of goods and services as a means of achieving satisfaction leave many people anxious and unfulfilled. These same lifestyles contribute significantly to many of the social and environmental challenges we face in today’s world. This six-week online course invites participants to actively ponder what it would mean to let go of consumption-centered value systems and to deliberately simplify their lives. New video and written content will be released each week to lead participants on a unique learning journey. Online discussion forums and Zoom conference calls allow participants to engage with one another, and with Eric Garza, the instructor.

Who Is This Course For?

This course will be particularly valuable for those who:

  1. Have struggled to live in accordance with their values, and would benefit from a structured learning environment and mentorship to better achieve this,
  2. Want to reduce the clutter in their life, and seek a nervous-system informed approach to doing this,
  3. Recognize that some consumptive behaviors they use are forms of self-medication, and seek a framework to understand those behavior patterns on a deeper level,
  4. Grow anxious and even hopeless when presented with data on the many social and environmental problems we face in the world today, and want to learn about the root causes of these issues in a container that presents an innovative and grounded path forwards,
  5. Enjoy processes of deep self-reflection that yield tangible benefits in their lives.

With all of this said, please realize that Slowing Down is not intended to provide individual or group therapy, and Eric Garza, the instructor, is not a licensed therapist. He draws on 10 years of experience teaching at the college level to design this course, and the tools and understandings he presents emerge from more than two decades of personal exploration. This course is not intended to be a substitute for therapy, though it could be a useful complement to it.

Course Goals

Slowing Down is designed to help participants:

  1. Understand the connection between today’s social and environmental challenges and people’s consumption patterns,
  2. Recognize the many benefits of owning and using fewer material goods,
  3. Analyze how personal consumption patterns are often triggered by anxiety, grief, and trauma,
  4. Evaluate how consumption patterns contribute to and emerge from our personal narratives,
  5. Craft a new personal narrative less dependent on consumption to can grow into over time.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Why We Gather (begins September 4) – This first week introduces the course and presents data showing that fast economies and fast lives are slowly (or less slowly) killing us. It also makes the case that we must, as individuals and as societies, slow down, and explores what this means.

Week 2: Exposing the Cannibal Giant (begins September 11) – This week presents the Wabanaki story of the Cannibal Giant and explains how the mechanics of this myth are rooted in our nervous systems. It also explores how self-medication is a strategy for hiding anxiety, grief, and trauma, and how consumption is often a form of self-medication.

Week 3: Showing Up, Slowing Down (begins September 18) – This week deepens our exploration of consumption by exploring the feedback loop it creates within our nervous systems and intervention points we can use to break this loop. Further resources to help people regulate their nervous systems and create space for new habits will be presented.

Week 4: Slowing Down the Cultural Body (begins September 25) – This week explores the fractal nature of human society, how behavior patterns present in individuals are reflected in groups, and how working on ourselves as individuals can change the societies in which we live.

Week 5: For the Love of Money, and Stuff (begins October 2) – This week invites participants to explore the life cycle costs and benefits of goods and services they commonly use, the broader consequences of the way they earn their livings, and practices they can use to better align their consumption with their values.

Week 6: Returning to Center (begins October 9) – This final week creates space for participants to reflect on their experiences in the course and synthesize their learnings. It also reinforces the importance of regulating our nervous systems as the core of any activist practice.

Course Format

Slowing Down begins on Friday, September 4, 2020. New content is released every Friday at noon EST for six consecutive Fridays, as per the schedule above. New material is released on Friday so that participants who are busy during the work week can engage with it over the weekend. Participants can follow along with their cohort, or they can engage at a slower pace of their choosing. The course material will be available for all enrolled participants for at least 3 months following the course’s end date of Friday, October 16.

Each week’s lesson begins with a practice to help calm and center participants’ nervous systems. Learning material is presented in both video and written form, and is designed to take 30-60 minutes for participants to get through each week. The written material duplicates what is provided in videos, so participants do not have to watch the videos and read. They can choose one or the other format, whichever they prefer, and do not have to worry about missing anything. Weekly lessons conclude with a series of questions to guide participants’ learning. These questions will also be posted as prompts in discussion forums.

Participants in this course will interact, with each other and with me (Eric Garza, the instructor), in two contexts. The first is in the discussion forums, which are private (not available to anyone not enrolled in the course) and serve as a container where participants can share their thoughts on the material and discussion questions. I will also participate in these forums and will be present to answer folks’ questions. Participation in discussion forums is voluntary. It is not a requirement of signing up for this course.

The second opportunity to interact will be Zoom conference calls that I will host on Thursdays at 7:00 am EST, 12:00 pm EST, and 7:00 pm EST. Participants can choose which call they participate in. I offer a range of calls to accommodate those with varied schedules and who live in various time zones (my courses typically attract participants from around the world). Participation in Zoom calls is voluntary. It is not a requirement of signing up for this course. All Zoom calls will be recorded and made available for those who cannot participate to view.

Course Pricing and Refund Policy

To make Slowing Down as accessible as possible, it is offered on the following sliding scale. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. If you are able to pay at a higher tier, please do. Those who pay more make it so that others can pay at a lower tier and the course will remain financially viable. Prices listed are in US dollars. You will need to scroll back to the top to register.

  • Very low income: $29
  • Low income: $59
  • Middle income: $119
  • Upper-middle income: $239
  • High income: $479 or more

 

Because cost of living varies geographically, and because I expect participants from many countries, I have not defined income ranges associated with the above categories. Participants can decide for themselves where they fit and pay accordingly. This is on an honor system. I will not attempt to verify your income.

Participants can receive a full refund of their tuition if they withdraw on or before Sunday, September 6, 2020. Participants who withdraw from September 7 through Friday, September 11 will receive a 50 percent refund. After September 11 no refunds will be given except for extraordinary circumstances.

If you have questions about this course, please reach out to me at info@ericgarza.info. I will respond as quickly as I can, usually within 24 hours.