Our Blog: Thoughts from the Path

Spring is here. Discover it all on a walk with a friend.

Each day we humans rise in the morning to what can feel like a deluge of thoughts and experiences from others. Whether it’s our family, the news, the people on the road as we drive out into the world, busy co-workers, social media, school, television shows, books we read. We spend a huge portion of our day wondering what and how others are doing and often thinking about why they’re doing it.

What about the Me? Where are you in all that Other?

Walking outdoors slows down all that crazy nervous stressful energy. Walking brings you to pace with the whole wide world. Walking with a walking buddy bridges the connection with self, others and community.

“Studies have shown the health benefits of nature range from more rapid healing to stress reduction to improved mental performance and vitality. We’ve found nature brings out more social feeling, more value for community and close relationships.” –Richard Ryan, University of Sheffield, UK

When you take a walk outside, what others are doing, thinking, feeling or saying, drops away. It all fades into the background and the delightful You comes into focus.

No matter where or how far you walk. Take a moment to stop and allow yourself to be entranced by the small things. 

It could be as tiny as a bug waddling across the sidewalk or as cool as a hawk treading water in mid-air, intent on its next meal. Or walking past a gopher hole just as the little critter scampers back into its home, hiding away from you.

Joy. One step. One moment at a time.

Do you ever think about how much time you devote to thinking or worrying about what other people are doing, saying or why they’re doing or saying it?

Where does it get you? Do you ever discover the answer? If so, does the answer bring you joy and a feeling of well-being and connection?

Let me pose a thought for your consideration.

Each time you find yourself wondering why someone did or said something, instead of staying on that train of thought you moved your focus away from them and brought it to yourself. And when you bring your thoughts to your self, you let your thoughts float as you wonder about what it is that brings joy to your heart and tender self.

What if, instead of expending time and energy on other, you spend time and energy on you. You, the only person who has any control over how you live your life and what affects your life. You, the only person who can do anything about what you do or how you feel. You, the divine woman that you are and all you bring into this world.

What if, by noticing how you feel at any given point in time, you begin to see that how you feel directs your life. Do you want to feel good? How can you get to feeling good from thinking about all the wrongs in the world done by others?

Walking with a Friend can make a Positive Difference in Your Life

If it wasn’t for my walking buddy, I really don’t think I would get myself outside for walks. She is my support, my accountability and my encouragement. Having a friend to walk with 1-2 times a week has changed my life for the best.” Cheryl, WomenWalking member

Having someone to walk with can make all the difference in your life. It’s not just having someone to talk to, but having a companionship to stretch your boundaries and explore a little.

It may sound weird, but sometimes the thought of going out into the open space, even around your neighborhood, can feel scary; it can feel vulnerable. If you know you will be with someone, the whole idea of being exposed drifts away.

You are more willing to go and explore places you wouldn’t go by yourself. Just think of all the places you’d like to go and see but the very idea of going alone, stops you in your tracks. It ain’t gonna happen.

There’s something about the rhythm of walking that seems to seep into your very being, inspiring you to be aligned with the world around you. Walking is the pace of the earth. You can notice all the things that are unseen when you move in any way faster than a walk. 

The Extraordinary Within the Ordinary

Walking can be a joyful experience; bubbles of extraordinary contained within the ordinary of everyday walks. When was the last time you took pause to notice one of those small moments that brings such richness to life?

Shoes on, door open, slide back the ceiling to reveal the magic of the outdoors.

Even if only for a walk around your neighborhood. Nature is alive and perfect company. Birds are busy, flitting here, chirping there (have you ever witnessed two tiny birds chasing and screaming at a hawk?). What about the riotous colors, shapes and fragrances of plants and flowers (yes, we can dream of spring). Or the first snowfall that is so quiet, gentle and soft.

If you were inside exercising or on a treadmill, you might be thinking, “When am I going to be done? I’m so bored.” But if you were out for a walk, you’d be deep into the weave of it, living and breathing that fragment of day; caught up in that indescribably delicious space between sunset and dark.

The action of walking is different for each of us. A woman in a wheelchair came alive as she excitedly told about meeting a woman friend for a “walk” uptown. “We strolled around the town looking in shop windows, talking to people, having a bite to eat at a restaurant. It was just lovely.”