Walking

Learning to Walk

<A re-post. Originally posted in August 2012>

Like most of us, I suspect, I have no recollection of learning to walk as a youngster. I do remember learning to walk as an adult, though, & since walking on a daily basis keeps my life (mostly) on track, it may be something worth telling others about!

(There are several other postings on this blog about walking – all listed on this page here  – along with some lovely quotations from people much wiser & more articulate than I.)

My 2 biggest pieces of advice to people who want a happy life are, practice gratitude & take up walking [here I linked to the posting 'Gratitude: 1 more'].

Learning to Walk:

  • Start small, if you’re new to walking. Even 10 or 15 or 20 minutes a day. The longer you walk, eventually, the better!! You can work up gradually, & will probably want to, once you're hooked!

  • Know that whatever direction you walk in doesn’t really matter. It’s the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other action that really does the trick. (Of course, walking in places of great beauty is a bonus, but it is not a requirement. I’ve often said if there was nowhere else to walk, I’d walk in a shopping mall & have a good time. And I really dislike shopping malls!)

  • I highly recommend that you walk by yourself. Walking with others is lovely too, of course. It’s a companionable, social kind of activity – quite different altogether from the more solitary, contemplative kinds of walks many of us find so restorative & energizing.

  • I like to walk fast – but I know we all have to develop our own way of doing everything in this life. Walking fast works for me because it gets my heart rate up & I feel as though I’m getting exercise as well as contemplative time. Ambling really just doesn’t cut it for me – but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t for others. You’ll figure out your own pace.

  • Do your best to cut down on the incessant internal chatter – what some call the monkey brain (or even the “drunken monkey”), & refrain from spending precious walking time on petty internal dramas. I know I may start a walk with this kind of stuff in my head, but it gradually slows down as I remind myself “Be Here Now!” & remember to look around & notice sky, birds, trees (I’m a very big fan of trees) …whatever presents itself! (Even in cities there are birds & squirrels & sky & trees to notice – & lots of other interesting things, too!)

  • You can practice gratitude while you walk! Be grateful for the walk itself, for the legs that are carrying you along, & the world that you see all around you. Walking & gratitude are great companions, or they are in my little world, anyway.

 

Being an incurable writer, I’ve kept a ‘Walker’s Journal’ for years now. I don’t write in it daily – just when a walk has sparked some thoughts & insights that seem worth recording. As I think I’ve said elsewhere (‘Why I Walk’), one does have interesting thoughts & insights when one walks on a regular basis (provided one does one’s best to quiet the incessant mind noise as much as possible). I not only enjoy my walks like crazy, I get quite a lot of stuff figured out!

Janet

p.s. even when I am not trying to. I don't walk with an “agenda.” I just walk…

Quote of the day’ with this post: “A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” – Paul Dudley White, physician (1886-1973) 

  • more quotes/postings about walking here

  • more quotes/postings about gratitude here

Lollipops & Roses (not) & a great morning I had one day recently…

<May 21/16>

Once upon a time, I used to be Little Ms. Sunshine

(kind of; a lot of the time, anyway)

 

Lately?

Not so much.

 

I feel weighed down. Weighted down

Bowled over. Almost bowled under

by a variety of circumstances, challenges & grief(s)

some in my personal life

some to do with "the world at large.”

 

That Little Ms. Sunshine phase?

That “lollipops & roses” phase?

Has pretty clearly left town

Left the building

Left the stage.

 

It’s a new phase, now

A new me.

Under construction, I am

…apparently.

 

& it’s hard.

I liked Little Ms. Sunshine

She was fun to be on the inside of.

 

But you know?

Shit happens.

Times change.

We change.

 

& you know what they say about change!

They say it’s really the only constant

 

So.

Here we are, now
Here I am, now

In the here, & now

So be it…

***

The great morning I had, a few months ago now?

For my work, I went out one morning

To walk around the neighbourhood/area

To try & nail down a venue for an event I was helping plan.

 

I had an idea when I went out (on foot)

Of a location or two I was going to check out

 

& then, as I was on my way to one of them

came across a place that had not been on my radar screen at all

 

So I popped in to check it out

& there were 2 young staffers at this community centre

& as we chatted, the 3 of us,

they pointed out a couple of things I hadn’t known

such as that our event was set for March Break

an important thing to know

… & then they recommended another possible venue or 2

 

& I walked on, having learned a couple of things

& at the next place I stopped & looked around in, same deal

Chatted, learned some stuff

& then, onto the next (same deal! 🙂 )

& the one after that

 

& I had simply the grandest time

chatting

learning things

& all of this on foot ... & of course I do love to walk!! 🙂 🙂

 

& I got home

& realized

This had been one of the nicest times I’d had for a long time!

 

& it was because I was meeting (& chatting with, & learning from)

human beings – in the flesh

 

In contrast to the way I spend a lot/too much of my time

In front of a computer screen

 

& frankly

too much time in front of one of these things

can make a person a little craaaaazy.

You know??

 

So. An important lesson learned.

 

Life’s joys & enjoyments & wonderful

(or even just kind of ho-hum, maybe, but satisfying … you know?) moments

 

do not (usually) come

while sitting in front of a computer screen

(or whatever “device” you happen to be most addicted to)

 

… but in the presence of actual, in-the-flesh human beings

who live & breathe

& have good ideas

(& who spark some in you, too)

& share wisdom & insights & energy & good ideas & maybe laughs, even

You know

just ... moments of human interaction

& conversation.

 

So…  yay!

Yay, yay, yay!!

 

Janet 

p.s. & sure, the world is still "going to hell in a hand basket," likely faster than most of us care to acknowledge (so I quite strongly suspect) – & there is pretty much nothing I can do about that – but I can make it a point to hang around with – & value & enjoy – my fellow human beans while waiting for any more of the axes that are falling & are going to fall…

 

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Many of the things we all struggle with in love and work can be helped by conversation. Without conversation, studies show that we are less empathic, less connected, less creative and fulfilled. We are diminished, in retreat.” – from Reclaiming Conversation – The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, by Sherry Turkle (great interview with her here )

 

Keep Flossing!

<Aug. 3/16.>

Regular readers of my blog know that I have a slightly … uh, shall we say jaundiced (or dark) view about where the human race is headed. (& sooner than we think, I think…)

But you don’t have to read the dark & dreary stuff I write. Your choice entirely.

This post is one of the joyful ones.

I’m walking on a regular basis again – & that makes ever-so-much difference to my spirits. (5 days in Algonquin Park didn’t hurt too much either!)

So on my walk this morning – aware that the climate news is REALLY sobering (see this or that or this … or this or … skip them!!) … & deeply aware of other stubborn issues, problems & challenges (some pretty close to home) – I suddenly remembered Guy McPherson (the Nature Bats Last guy) saying in a lecture several months ago

“Keep flossing.”

However much longer we have here (& there never is any guarantee on that, hmmmm?)

We are here, now

& we might as well keep on

  • having fun

  • loving life

  • living in the moment

  • enjoying music, friends & loved ones, food, laughter, conversation

 

& … flossing our teeth!!

(It makes them feel ever so much cleaner & fresher, & does wonders for our breath…)

#Life. Is. Good.

Janet

p.s. we will be a long time dead, no? Best to find joy now, while we are still here.