So, I came out for my walk this morning (I aim to walk an hour every day; it seems to be essential for both body & soul; I’m addicted to my daily walk), & it’s been grand. It’s been snowing here, & I’ll have to go back & shovel the driveway (I’m at a coffee place writing this) but that’s OK, I have an exercise deficit to make up for (missed walking yesterday – it was a “bed day” – worked all day, but didn’t walk).
What came to me this morning as I walked along (once I quickly dispensed with a few petty “she said, he said” kinds of thoughts; got that over with very fast), was that walking un-hinges me – in a good way.
It’s maybe a little as though it acts as a lubricant – it smooths out my mind, my thoughts, & once the surface gets clear, or smooth, some good stuff gets the chance to float up. This takes solitary walking, btw. Brenda Ueland said in her book If You Want to Write – A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, “I will tell you what I have learned myself. For me, a long five or six mile walk helps. And one must go alone and every day. I have done this for many years. It is at these times I seem to get re-charged. ... My explanation of it is that when I walk in a carefree way, without straining to get to my destination, then I am living in the present. And it is only then that the creative power flourishes.”
Like Ms. Ueland, I advocate walking alone. Daily, if at all possible. (Walking with a friend or partner is wonderful too – I can think of at least one relationship that probably would have survived if we’d kept up the walking habit from our early days – but social walking is a completely different kettle of fish, with quite a different purpose.)
Today a few treasures came up:
Metaphor thoughts about paths, for example – a topic that comes up for me from time to time. I was walking in snow a couple of feet deep – had just the right boots on & was walking across a field & all was well, then along came a snowmobile track, & you might think walking in a previously-formed track would be preferable, but it was actually slippery-er that way, so I stepped back off “the trail” & was reminded of how I’ve had path/trail thoughts before – thoughts about paths & how they diverge, or we stay on them, or we don’t…
& hey! I enjoy metaphors, so that was fun.
& I was reminded of money. I’d woken up thinking that so often we think money will “solve” our problems, & often (in my view) it just muddles things up, & I recalled how & why money has never turned my crank much (short version: my “family of origin” had at least a bit of it, not a ton but a decent amount, but it sure as heck didn’t make us happy! End of story), & money can of course be useful, or even essential (& I myself have to start earning some of it soon, since having the outgoing exceeding the incoming can only work for so long, hmmm? So I will!), but often money just gets in the way. So sayeth I.
& as I walked along I encountered some drivers in big vehicles (lotta big vehicles in this town, hooey!) who were driving too fast & too heedlessly & was once again reminded of a parallel I’ve noticed between drivers of cars & trucks & political leaders or bigshots of any description, I guess: once one gets a little too much “power,” one can quickly lose one’s sense of perspective, hmmm? & behave dangerously. Oh yes.
& other thoughts/metaphors about dancing...& angles...& treasure…but if I’m not careful I could go on with this all day, & I’ve got that driveway to shovel, hmmm? & lots of work to do.
Suffice it to say, walking saves my ass, & I can’t recommend a simple daily habit of it (even 10 minutes is better than nothing!) highly enough.
Happy New Year to us all!!
p.s. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882) once said, “Do not follow where the path may lead...go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” (other quotations about walking here)
p.p.s. a couple days later: on this morning's walk it occurred to me to summarize what I get out of my walks: knots unravel. Inspiration(s) dawn. Solutions to problems present themselves. Challenges get mentally sorted out. I let off steam. I breathe & enjoy Nature - sky, clouds, birds, fields (or if in town, well, whatever...I walk wherever I am, even downtown Toronto; it would be fun to know how many hundreds of miles I've clocked there over the years!!). I often think funny thoughts & have a chuckle (mostly at myself). It's a gold mine!! (Another thing: when I'm out walking, I feel a great sense of possibility. I feel as though I really can achieve all those task I want to get done, write all that stuff I want to write, etc. etc. etc. Feeling open to possibility is a mighty fine feeling! (plus, I can waste hours tizzying over how busy I am & how I can't get everything done. A walk generally helps me un-tizzy & figure out an actual plan for getting it all done.)
p.p.p.s. many choices as to how you can incorporate a daily walk into your routine. I've done it whether "working" or not. Before work, after work, during lunch hour. In the country, in the city. Short walks, medium walks, long walks; you name it. Any walk is always a good walk, & however short, always better than none!!