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Go for a walk?

July 21, 2021

We all know that walking is good exercise, but there’s walking and then there’s walking. While I do the first because I sort of have to because I feel guilty if I don’t, it’s the second one I enjoy more and look forward to doing.

The second one, the walking, is walking in nature, and for me there’s not much that’s more enjoyable. I enjoy the peace and tranquility when walking among the trees and the rocks and the animals. I leave the music at home so the only distraction is whatever happens naturally. Sun, heat, clouds, cold, even rain, it doesn’t matter because as distractions go, they’re all quite minor.

Sometimes I’m focused on just strolling and taking photos, and other times I’m focused on walking nowhere but in a circle, and sometimes I’m focused on taking slow, mindful steps as described by Thich Nhat Hanh:

“We become aware of the contact between our feet and the ground. And we begin harmonise our steps with our breathing. We may take two or three steps as we breathe in, and then three or four steps as we breathe out. It will depend on your lungs and the natural rhythm of your steps.

As we continue walking, synchronising our breathing and our steps, we become aware of our whole body walking. We can relax any tension in our shoulders or arms, and feel what a miracle it is to be walking on Earth. We can open our ears to the sounds around us, and lift up our eyes to enjoy the trees, or the horizon, or the people around us. Aware of our five senses, we know we have arrived in the present moment. Every step can be nourishing and every step can be healing.

Walking in meditation means to walk in such a way that we know we are walking. We walk leisurely, enjoying every step. We become aware of the contact of our feet with the ground, and the flow of our breathing. We set ourselves free from our thinking—our regrets about the past, our fears and anxieties about the future, or our preoccupations in the present. We become 100% present with every step.” – The Art of Mindful Living

I confess I’m not very good at the whole mindful walking thing, but that’s ok.

Sometimes I stop and sit on a bench (assuming it’s not covered in moss or spider webs). Whatever I do I always notice the smells and the sounds and the colors and the shadows.

After a time at any of these, my racing and spinning thoughts eventually slow and coalesce into a warm, soft feeling of calm. Of positivity and invigoration. When that happens it’s nice. The feelings may not always last a long time, but they’re nice. And who knows, one day they might?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2021 11:38 am

    Oh yeah!
    Something to be said, also, for scrambling along wooded, dirt trails where a deer or a fat-tire bike has been, and stopping at the top of the hill, breathless. MN parks rock!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. July 21, 2021 10:07 pm

    I love walking, and have a 45 – 60 minutes walk everyday. It is this part of the day that I look forward to the most.
    “Aware of our five senses, we know we have arrived in the present moment. Every step can be nourishing and every step can be healing.” Absolutely true!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 23, 2021 10:24 am

      It’s nice when a walk stops being exercise and a ‘have to’ and becomes something someone looks forward to.


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