I had dinner with an older and much wiser friend than I a couple of weeks ago and we ended up spending all of our time on me getting much needed counsel from him. At the end, he let me know that he had some questions about natural pace which we hadn't had time to cover. In lieu of a private email conversation between he and I, I thought it might be valuable to have the conversation publicly as others might benefit.
For reference, here's the natural pace video where I talk a little about it on camera:
The big thing to understand is that natural pace is about RELATIONSHIP. Your natural pace is set in response to the world around you and what it is telling you. I talk on the video about "male" and "female" energy which is an eastern concept. Male energy projects onto whereas female energy is receptive. At the time of the video, I thought in terms of female energy being the seat of intuition whereas male energy is completely oblivious. Upon reflection, I think both types of energy can be intuitive. So if it helps to think in terms of those two types of energy, drive on. But if not maybe scratch that and simply think in terms of forming a relationshp with the world around you.
Human beings are marvelously intuitive creatures. We're capable of reading and responding to the energy of other animals -- communicating with them with no need for words. Most of us have experienced this to some degree with dogs. However, we're capable of this with all living beings including wild animals. When I say "all living beings", I also include plant communities. Furthermore, we're capable of reading the energy of a coming storm that's still over the horizon. We're maybe capable of reading the energies of less complex - slow formation structures as well but that's going pretty far down the rabbit hole.
Here's the catch though -- our marvelous capabilities are quickly overwhelmed by the worlds in which most of us live. Normal urban population densities cause us to completely close our intuition out of self defense. The noise is simply too much otherwise. The devices we use to interact with a world that doesn't really exist neither require nor allow for intuition.
So what about natural pace? It is in relationship with the natural world that we can reawaken our intuition and it is the discipline of trying to move with a natural pace that exercises that relationship. I think of moving with a natural pace as feeling the ebb and flow of energies around me and moving in relation to those energies.
I hear a series of sounds in the forest. When I relax and stop trying to focus on the sounds, all of the sounds and probably some other input I'm not consciously aware of coalesces into the sense of a movement, the picture of an animal on its path. I move parallel to the animal's path. Move away from it, and I'm no longer in relationship with it. Move towards it and my aggression pushes it away. Move alongside it and we dance for a while. If I'm at rest, without a cluttered brain, without trying to impose too much of my will, I can feel the degree to which the animal is comfortable with my presence and I adjust accordingly. That is natural pace.
This picture I paint isn't how it always is. It is an ideal that is only sometimes realized. Mostly I am clouded and lack intuition. I see with my eyes but not my heart. My steps are wooden, they walk on but not in. My desires drown out my hearing. Still, I aspire to walk at my natural pace. I can sometimes tell when I'm not doing so, but I can feel the resonance when I am.
My friend asked me if there are any exercises or tips I can give about natural pace. I'm going to keep reflecting and see if I come up with anything more. Hopefully the foregoing is helpful. Beyond that, there is one thing that usually helps me. If I am out in the woods and take a nap under a tree, I come out of the nap in a more natural state.
That's all I have for now. Hope it helps.