Slowing down, Volume 2: Walking.

In 2014 my wife and I walked over 600 miles over one of the northern routes of the Camino de’ Santiago in northern Spain. Aside from being a life changing couple of months, I also came away with a walking a practice that I’ve stuck to ever since.

Of all the things you can pick up in a lifetime, you’d be hard pressed to find a better way of slowing down than walking from point A to point B. It requires planning. It requires patience from yourself as well as anyone else you are trying to incorporate into your life.

And yet, for me anyways, it’s become a form of meditation that I’ve yet to duplicate whilst doing anything else. The zen-like stillness I achieve while walking places has been life-changing. I am happier for it. I am more centered in my work and in my play. I am moving my body. I am inhabiting the planet in a kinder way. I am out in my community, amongst my neighbors. I am outside, the open sky above me.

Yes, you have to plan when you will be places and augment your day’s schedule accordingly. Yes, this is all in addition (or in supplement) to what you are were attempting to accomplish before.

But… having done it regularly for 3 years now – averaging 5 to 10 miles a day – I wouldn’t change this practice for the world.

About the only bad thing I can think of is the amount of sneakers I’ve been going through (if you know of a good sneaker recycling option, leave it in the comments below). Everything else has been utter improvement.

Why am I writing this series?

Oddly Relaxing Videos…

Hey y’all. Every once and a while I just need to zone out and watch something innocuous that isn’t over stimulating or representative of my country’s current political environment (yep, I’m American).

Over the last year I’ve stumbled upon two YouTube channels that really help me wind down whilst teaching me new concepts or illuminating ideas that I’d always wondered about. On both channels there is typically no narrator. Just someone putting forth a visual objective and then proceeding to show you how they achieve it. In many ways it reminds me of those old cooking shows from the 70’s and 80’s.

Anyways, I thought I’d share them with you in the event you ever need a similar escape.

The first one is a channel called “Hand Tool Rescue” and it’s just a guy restoring old tools that he’s either found or have been sent to him. There’s all kinds of interesting stuff that he takes apart piece by piece, cleans/repairs, and then puts back together, restoring each tool to its’ former operational glory! I just love this!

Here’s the link:

The second is a channel called “Primitive Technology” and it features another guy who finds a space on his land where he proceeds to build primitive structures and tools from objects found around him. So if the idea of watching someone walk into a heavily wooded area with no tools at all, eventually build the tools that allow him clear a space to build a structure to protect him from the elements, is interesting to you – this comes highly recommended.

Here’s the link:

I find both of these channels immensely interesting and often mesmerizing. Hopefully you will too! If you have similar recommendations feel free to put them in the comments below!

Slowing down, Volume 1: Morning Coffee

I’ve been a coffee drinker from my late teens to 7AM this morning. I used to drink pots and pots of coffee in a work day, but in recent years I have whittled that down to one cup, maybe two, a day.

Even though I’ve cut back, I enjoy this ritual immensely. It’s a little bit of carved out time to ease into my day that is purely intentional. It also is something that improves my daily trajectory right from the start, allowing me to form my schedule or to simply reflect on goals set far down the road.

About a year and a half ago I started looking at ways to slow down the process of making my morning cup of joe. After a little trial an error I think I’ve got it on lock down.

The old way:

For years, I used to scoop beans into a electric burr grinder, grind said beans, scoop grounds into a coffee maker, pour water in, hit “start”, drink.

Total time (max): 5 – 7 minutes give or take.

The new way:

These days I’ve slowed down making coffee by ditching the electric grinder for a hand grinder, pouring the water and the grounds into a Bialetti three cup (basically a shot) Moka Pot and putting the pot on the stove, before sitting back to wait for that warm deliciousness.

Total Time: between 10 and 15 minutes.

The slow improvement:

Obviously the biggest time gain in this new process is in the grinding of the coffee beans. Hand grinding is slow and methodical. Even if you crank on the grinder as fast as you can, you’ll never achieve the efficiency of an electric grinder that can crank through 10 times the amount in a fraction of the time. What you do gain however is just that: time. Hand grinders also give you superior control over the size of the grind – allowing you to make it more course or fine – so that you can tweak to taste.

The Mokapot (an oldschool Italian coffee maker) adds additional boil time to the mix, but it also adds a far superior tasting cup of coffee (very rich, very strong, almost espresso-like).

In the end, I went from a process that I could sleepwalk through to one more tactile, that required actual thought and attention. Without a doubt I am better for it. My day gets started before my coffee, not after. Sure it takes twice the time, but I come away from my morning cup happier and more satisfied. It’s helped me bring my A-game earlier to my work and my play.

This is certainly not a process for everyone (I’m the only coffee drinker in my house). But it is definitely a slow down that improved my life more the efficiency that came before it.

My gear (if you’re interested):

Bialetti Moka Express 3 Cup Espresso Maker –

Manual Coffee Grinder with Ceramic Burr by Cozyna –

Why am I writing this series?

2018 and the art of slowing down.

This year I’ve decided to deliberately slow certain tasks in my life down a bit.

All too often I’ve sought the quickest way to accomplish a task and I think after I turned 40 (I’m turning 42 this month), I’ve really started to question why.

Before, it was simply efficiency. So that I could find the quickest route to consume a result. This year I’d like to do things differently. I aim to be more present during this intentional slowness – more reflective – with the genuine hope that I become more in tune with myself. All of this is aimed at introducing more stillness into my life, with the hope that that could be a conduit to more of the same within myself.

Most of these changes will inevitably cause me to take more of a low tech approach to things, and I look forward to that. I’ve already got a couple pieces outlined that I hope to post on here. They are things I have been already doing in my day-to-day that are giving me more clarity, focus, and happiness.

I hope they do the same for you!

Stay tuned…

This Site: Adding JSON Feed support…

Quick site update for you all!

Last week ushered in a new feed format called JSON Feed. Similar to RSS or Atom syndication, JSON Feed simply creates a way for you to syndicate content from your site to a feed reader of your choice.

What is different though, is that rather than churning out XML (which developers tend to avoid), the end result creates a feed written entirely in JSON, which is way easier to read and write.

Getting into the weeds.

If you want to get into the nitty gritty, you can read all about the full V.1 spec here:

If your site runs on WordPress, there’s a plugin for easily implementing a JSON Feed. Click here to download it.

Lastly, if you are curious how your feed will look in a reader that supports JSON Feeds, you can check that out here: (spoiler alert: it looks really great)

Still on the fence?

I certainly don’t blame you. It’s still very early days, and many would posit that releasing a new feed spec alternative to the now widely adopted RSS spec, is a complete waste of time at this point in the game.

I think it is worth your time because:

  • Over all, it’s a much nicer reading experience for your feed-consuming visitors.
  • The pedigree of its active development is very high (Manton Reece and Brent Simmons).
  • It takes very little time and effort to add it to your site.
  • More and more main stream feed readers are starting to support it.

If you would like to add my JSON Feed to your feed reader, you can find it here:… or in the left nav (click the nav button in upper right on mobile.