Our Blog: Thoughts from the Path

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.”

Walking is Life

You think about getting out for a walk but somehow time passes and it doesn’t happen. You think about joining a walking group but the timing never seems to work with your schedule. You think, Oh, if only I had someone to walk with, I’d feel motivated to go out. But you just don’t have anyone and it’s time consuming and frustrating to try to find someone. Now what?

Time for a change. Now. This moment. Time passes and whether or not you make a choice, you’ve made a choice. Even though saying it out loud can feel scary, take the step for you.

Nature awaits you right outside your door. Start small. Small successes grow and flourish. Go out to walk around the block. Or call a friend to meet you at the park or around town for a walk. Or find a group that’s out walking when it’s convenient for your schedule. Get yourself one or two women to walk with 1x a week that are looking for support and accountability, too.

Why is being outside so important? So many reasons but perhaps the more specific reason is that you are connected with nature from deep inside yourself and the you inside yourself knows it. It’s where we come from and part of who we are; part of the cycle of life.

As humans we often separate ourselves from our planet. We get inside our heads and forget that the life happening around us that’s non-human is as important as our lives. For what would we do without it? Who would we be without everything else?

Staying in connection with anything nature, even if they seem to be playing in the background – plants, flowers, weeds, pigeons, crows, squirrels – helps to keep our beings grounded and calm and inspires joy and creativity.

Plenty of studies show again and again, that nature in whatever form you find, has a calming effect on the human psyche.

Time to give yourself the gift of a small success. Step out for a walk with a friend today. You’ll be glad you did!

What’s Your Story?

The other morning early, out for a walk on my usual loop, I was heading east through the neighborhoods and out to the pasture that borders the houses. Turning to pick up the sidewalk that runs adjacent and then a cross over the wooden bridge and away from civilization.

This may be a bit of an exaggeration since if I turn around I can see tons of homes, but facing forward feels like an adventure into nature. Wide open land, trees, cattle, horses, birds, hawks, geese, sky, clouds and fog.

Maybe it’s because they’re mammals, but cows are always endlessly fascinating to watch. Standing there observing, there’s a hint of movement out of the corner of my eye in the next pasture. A fox? It’s hard to see clearly through the morning fog and the blending of leftover summer brown grass that hasn’t yet turned its winter green. And then there are ears bouncing. And then more ears bouncing.

A pair of jack rabbits that were almost at the fence near where I was standing, turn and bolt away in the opposite direction, deeper into the pasture. And then another pair of ears, and another and another.

As my eyes focused, there were at least 10 rabbits dashing, hopping, bouncing, jumping and playing with each other as they found new territory to cover. They were playing and having fun. What a sight!

When they got further away and barely visible, I turned to continue on my walk with a bounce in my step (was I a practicing rabbit?) and a smile in my heart. Seeing these moments feel like a gift that I received because I was there in that moment of their play.

It’s a story that I can share with you, in hope that you will be excited to go outside and find your own story to share. Stories are a part of our collective history. Curiosity becomes contagious.

 

Celebrating 2017 & Welcoming 2018

Why does the arrival of December seem to come as a surprise?  Perhaps it’s the turn around; the looking  back instead of ahead. It is the end of a calendar year. But if you take away the idea of “time,” as in a calendar sort of way, and instead proceed as usual on to the next month, it doesn’t seem quite so extraordinary.

Recognition of the conclusion of one year and the beginning of the next does offer us the occasion for celebration. A time to stop and consider life.  A time to reflect and take it all in.

A time to let go of the resistance we hold: to time, to change, to what we don’t like, to what makes us unhappy.

When we let go of resistance it feels a lot like relief. And feeling relief really is a cause for celebration.

What is it about resistance that feels like such an integral part of our daily lives? While it sounds good as a form of not tolerating or accepting things we don’t like, is it really a productive path to be always focused on what we don’t like or want?

Consider this: resistance creates resistance. The war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on anything.  It’s still a war full of resisting.