You all know how much I love, love, LOVE to walk.
I dare say I adore walking as much as Elizabeth Bennett.
But maybe what you don’t know is that as a young, angst-filled adult, walking was a form of self punishment.
Back then I did not walk with joy and wonder. I walked with rage and pain.
I walked to scold and shame myself.
I walked with toxic people even when I knew better.
I walked in ugly places while listening to abrasive sounds and inhaling noxious scents.
I walked completely disconnected from my self and my environment.
And although I walked to exercise, I never EVER felt rejuvenated.
Mostly, I just felt exhausted, beat-up, and discouraged.
Until one day, my therapist asked me why. Why was I polluting one of my favorite activities from childhood?
After that epiphany and some obligatory self recrimination, I started making some habit-breaking changes to detoxify my walks. It was a hard and slow process.
Real change always is.
One of the biggies was finding a better outlet for my anger bouts. Like vigorous house cleaning sessions.
I also learned to put a stop to the BS abusive self-talk. Because…guess what? We are the boss of our own minds and we can banish those negative voices.
Once I stripped the bad stuff away, I was left with a blank slate walk. A neutral, pleasant walking experience that I knew could become something more. Something incredible.
So I set out to create what I deemed a “sacred” walking experience. An experience to honor my mind, my heart, my body, as well as the natural world.
Here’s how I did it.
10 Habits For Creating a Sacred Walking Experience
- Seek the scenic, natural, aromatic path. Go out of your way to find it. Spend extra time to get there. This is the most crucial step because the objective of a sacred walking experience is connection and rejuvenation. With yourself, with nature, with the divine.
- Bring a positive companion or go it alone. You could always do both. A couple times a week with a upbeat companion. The rest of the time with yourself. Of course a dog can be a delightful addition. Or not. Keep the objective in mind when making that determination.
- Strike a natural pace. Not too fast, not too slow. I’ve found that my body automatically adjusts to what it needs. This same philosophy applies to how far you walk. Your body will guide you if you listen to it.
- Open your emotions and senses to your setting. How does the sound of water flowing over rocks make you feel? The smell of pine needles? The feel of snowflakes on your face? You are part of the natural world. Take this time to remind yourself and strengthen that connection.
- Unclench your mind. Take slow deep breaths then mentally bench your anxiety and to-do lists. As you move, allow your mind to drift like a leaf floating on a slow moving stream. It should feel light and relaxed now.
- Speak your thank you notes and prayers. Speak it and make it so. Who and what are you thankful for? Who needs loving thoughts and energy? You can whisper or chant your thanks if you prefer but don’t forget to include your beautiful self.
- Feel your life force. Concentrate and feel your oxygen and energy coursing through each part of your body. Notice how your mind and body and spirit is humming, crackling, vibrating with the force. You are amazing.
- Savor a spot. Identify a beautiful place along your path and stop for a while. Sit or lay down and embrace it. The tree branches waving, the flickering sky, the talking birds, the ants marching next to your shoe. Breath deep. Smile. Laugh. Let out a big sigh. Close your eyes and doze. Savor.
- Gently stretch. You can do it as you walk or afterwards. This is a way to honor our bodies for their hard work. Start from the top and work your way down. I like to thank each part as I go then finish with a gigantic self-hug. Because I’m awesome!
- “Namaste” everything, everyone. The impact of a smile, a greeting, eye-contact, a compliment, any positive acknowledgment can be life-changing. Especially now, during the pandemic. Honor yourself, other people, wildlife…. It really is that simple to create a connective, uplifting experience and pass it on.
I’m addicted to my year-round walks. Unless there’s a blizzard or I’m ill, I love myself way too much these days to go without. Nor would I want to miss the changing landscape.
Daughters, I want you to love yourself as much as I love you.
I want you to do things to honor that love like taking sacred walks.
By the way…
Here’s a list of my TOP 5 FAVORITE THINGS TO DO in case you forgot!
- Connecting with Family
- Walking/Hiking/Exploring My Inner and Outer Universes
- Reading/Sharing Book Recommendations
- Writing/Helping Others Write
- Laughing/Helping Others Laugh
Yes, OF COURSE you’re at the top of the list!!
Yes, A pop quiz to find out if you read this is a distinct possibility.
All my love!