why walk?

Learning to Walk

<August 10/12.> 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 on track big-time, it may be something worth telling others about!

(There are several other postings on this blog about walking – all listed on the 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 (the previous post covered the gratitude angle).

Learning to Walk:

  1. 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!

  2. 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 hate shopping malls!)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 big fan of trees) …whatever presents itself! (Even in cities there are birds & squirrels & sky & trees to notice – & lots of other interesting things, too.)

  6. You can practice gratitude while you walk! Be grateful for the walk itself, for your 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 (if one does one’s best to shut down 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!


p.s. even when I am not trying to. I do not 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)

Why I Walk

I go for a walk every day (almost every day, I hate it when I miss) because while I am walking

  • Mental knots unravel
  • Stresses fall away
  • Unruly emotions settle themselves down
  • Ideas are sparked
  • Inspiration dawns
  • I feel energized
  • I breathe deeply
  • Tensions ease
  • Possibilities seem to open up
  • I enjoy the fresh air & just being outside
  • Gratitude comes to me naturally
  • I am getting solitude, which I need a fair bit of
  • I find it easy to stay in “the Now” – the present moment
  • I get writing ideas
  • I find it easy to “flap my wings” in the Eckhart Tolle phrase, & let go of negativity
  • It feels so darn good!
  • The sensation of equanimity arrives, & that feels good too, & finally
  • (so far, anyway), it keeps me this side of the psychiatric ward 

& thinking about all this makes me think also of synergy – that wonderful phenomenon of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, or what I think of as the unexpected stuff that comes off the top when you do certain things & cool things you didn’t expect to happen, happen.

Like using public transportation because it’s good for the environment & discovering how much less stressful & way more pleasant it is to ride, say, the GO train into Toronto, than driving. Huge…

& doing environmental work because I wanted to help make the world a better place for my kids (& everyone) & discovering how good the work makes me feel & what incredible friendships I’ve developed with the most awesome, awesome people.

Yup yup yup.

Synergy. It’s grand!


‘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)

p.s. I plum forgot to mention that walking is also good exercise, & good exercise is good for my body as well as my soul!

p.p.s. more good quotations about walking here