The importance of . . . slowing down.

National Public Radio's website has an interesting feature that identifies the most e-mailed stories are from the previous day. Today I noted that at the top of the list was an essay on the importance of slowing down and keeping a reasonable pace in life.

The fact that it was the most popular story of the day on the website tells me that I am not alone in feeling constantly dragged along faster and faster by the demands of work and life in our modern society. The art of slowing down and living deliberately has become something of an avocation for me. I have become something of an evangelist on the subject with friends and clients and highly recommend that everyone look for ways to scale back their work and other obligations to manageable levels that allow time for enjoying the simpler things at a slower pace. That is enough preaching on the topic for now I guess...

I would talk your ear off about the subject but . . . I simply haven't got the time.

Back to the NPR essay. The essayist, Phil Powers, is a mountaint climber. In his profession, it pays to be deliberate. He writes:

"I believe in the importance of pace. I grew up in a frenetic household, both parents working jobs that demanded their attention 24/7. I was little and fast and rushed around, and I still have that person inside me, always at risk of moving too quickly, missing the connection, making mistakes....

When I was 19, I learned something called the "rest step" from an old mountain climber named Paul Petzoldt. He advised me to rest in the middle of each step completely, but briefly. ... The awareness of pace I owe to my teacher has served me whether I am seeking the world's highest summits, sharing my love for the mountains with others or kneeling to look my son, Gus, in the eye when he has a question....

There is magic in any faith. Every once in a while, rushing about, my belief in pace rises up, slows me down and grants me a view of a sunset, a smile from a stranger or a conversation with a child. I owe these moments to what I learned from an old mountain climber and have practiced ever since."

Well said. Here is the audio of the entire essay.