Walk your way to joy! Finding peace, one step at a time.
One of the greatest challenges we find along our life journey or spiritual path is to feel love and compassion for ourselves.
It requires that we treat ourselves well, and give ourselves time and space to be still, to re-fuel, to rest and to gather our resources.’Self-care’ is a term we hear a lot now, and it means just this – finding ways, no matter how small and seemingly unimpressive, to find some peace for a moment. In this busy and pressured lifestyle we often have, we need this time to rest and to remember who we are and how we operate without the busy-ness. When we choose to take a moment to do something that we enjoy and feel good about, we empower ourselves to move forward.
What works for you?
What makes you feel free?
What makes you feel joyful?
What makes you smile?
Do you love to dance, to write, to build matchstick buildings? To sing, to skip? Finding peace inside ourselves doesn’t always need to mean stillness and silence, it can happen any time we take a moment to do what makes us feel good and makes us feel alive.
Walking is a simple and wonderful way to find a little of that peace. Here we are in Boulder, where beautiful trails abound right in town, and a short hike, bike ride or drive will bring you to beautiful remote mountain places. What a gift a little gain in elevation brings as you begin to rise above the chitter chatter of the mind and the busy world below.
‘Convinced that if we just do more and go faster we will succeed, we often lose the pulse of our own lives. We can find it again by walking.’ Julia Cameron
Walking, like any movement or exercise, benefits not only your physical health, but your mental clarity and emotional wellbeing too. We are made to walk. Walking is how we move, how we keep our blood moving and our muscles fluid, our joints and bones strong and healthy. As we walk, our feet receive a bonus massage from nature. When we forget to walk, spending our days sitting at computers and driving cars, we miss out on this vital connection between our feet and the earth. With our feet on the earth, we can literally ground ourselves.
Here’s the fun part – we can consciously choose to make our walk more than just a physical experience, or a way to get from here to there. Here are some simple ways to become mindful in walking:
- Play with the pace of your walking. Try to find your own natural pace, a pace that works for you today. In our daily lives, we often find ourselves rushing from one thing to the next. What does it feel like to move in your own natural rhythm?
- Try walking meditation. This can be as simple as focusing on your feet. As you walk, pay attention to each step. Feel the sensations on the soles of your feet as you place them on the ground and as you lift them again. Take time with each step, slow down and appreciate the very earth you walk on. If you find yourself in a world of mental chatter, just bring your focus back to your feet. One step at a time.
- Stop and smell the roses! As you walk, take little moments to really notice nature around you. Get down close to a flower, a plant – touch it, smell it, notice its intricate designs. Pick up a rock that draws your attention, watch a bug move, close your eyes and listen to sounds of life. Elements of nature have such a calming and soothing effect on our bodies and systems. They are always there for us, and they love our appreciation too.
- Repeat positive thoughts to yourself as you walk. This can be a simple and powerful way to create change in your life. Find an inspiring phrase that works for you today, and repeat it to yourself as you walk. The forward movement of your body, and your purpose and direction as you walk will give dynamic energy to your affirmations.
This is the perfect season for walking in and around Boulder! Even if you can only find 10 minutes, and even if you are just walking around the neighborhood, you will reap the benefits. The movement will bring vitality to your physical body and you’ll probably find you feel an upgrade in your outlook too!