Slowing Down

Suggested price: $119.00

The social and environmental challenges we face in the world today are intimately linked to people’s consumptive patterns. 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 our lives and our economies. The course is offered on the following sliding scale:

  • No/very low income: $29
  • Low income: $59
  • Middle income: $119
  • Upper-middle income: $239
  • High income: $479 or more

Read a more detailed description below.

Suggested price: $119.00

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Description

A wealth of scientific and news reports illustrates the close connection between people’s consumptive patterns and the many social and environmental challenges we face in the world today. This six-week online course invites participants to actively ponder what it would mean to slow down our lives and our economies in hopes of addressing these issues and creating for ourselves lives of greater ease and tranquility. The course creates a supportive space for participants to explore their relationships with the goods and services they use, and broader consumptive patterns in society. Online discussion forums and weekly Zoom conference calls allow participants to engage with one another and with the instructor.

Scroll down for more details about the course goals, content and schedule, format, pricing and refund policy.

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. Analyze their personal consumption patterns and the anxiety, grief, and trauma that triggers them,
  3. Evaluate how their consumption patterns connect with their personal narratives, and
  4. Craft a new personal narrative less dependent on consumption that they can grow into.

Course Content and Schedule

Week 1: Why We Gather (begins June 19) – 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. Practice: an introduction to meditation.

Week 2: Exposing the Cannibal Giant (begins June 26) – 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. Practice: moving meditation.

Week 3: Showing Up, Slowing Down (begins July 3) – 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. Resources to help people regulate their nervous systems and create space for new habits will be presented. Practice: contact meditation.

Week 4: Slowing Down the Cultural Body (begins July 10) – 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. Practice: people watching meditation.

Week 5: For the Love of Money, and Stuff (begins July 17) – 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. Practice: material meditation.

Week 6: Returning to Center (begins July 24) – This 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. Practice: sensory meditation.

Course Format

Slowing Down is a semi-synchronous online course that begins on Friday, June 19, 2020. New content is released every Friday at noon EST for six consecutive Fridays, as per the schedule above. Participants can engage with the content as it is released and 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 6 months following the course’s end date of Friday, July 31. New material is released on Friday so that participants who are busy during the work week can engage with it over the weekend.

Course content will take the form of a series of short lessons each week. These lessons will be presented as videos participants can watch, audio files they can download and listen to, or written material they can read. Participants can use any or all of these media to engage with the material, and those who choose to only engage with one media format will never miss anything those who engage with other formats get.

Inquiry is a key component of this course. Each week’s lesson will include multiple questions participants are invited to reflect on for that week. These questions will be presented in private discussion forums where participants can share their thoughts. Eric will participate in these forums. New discussion questions will be introduced each Friday when the next week’s lesson is made available.

Zoom calls will be hosted by Eric on Thursdays during the course at 7:00 am EST, 12:00 pm EST, and 7:00 pm EST. Participants can choose which call they participate in. A range of calls is offered to accommodate those whose schedules vary and who live in other time zones. All Zoom calls will be recorded and made available for viewing by those who cannot participate.

Course Pricing and Refund Policy

Slowing Down is offered on a sliding scale based on income. If you are able to pay at a higher tier, that means others can pay at a lower tier and the course will remain financially viable.

  • No/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 around the world, I have not defined income ranges associated with the above categories. Participants can decide for themselves where they fit and pay accordingly when they register. This is on an honor system. I will not attempt to verify your income.

Participants can receive a full refund of their tuition cost if they withdraw on or before June 21, 2020. Participants who withdraw from June 22 through June 26 will receive a 50 percent refund. After June 27 no refunds will be given except for extraordinary circumstances.