Walking for meditation and mental health
Day 107/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: Calm
The simple act of walking, it's much more than exercise.
A sentiment that I share with Sarah, approaching walking as exercise was a sure recipe to make it a struggle to get out the door.
Discovering that as I'm walking I can also meditate was an exciting and reassuring epiphany, and I've used it for this purpose every since.
Finding ways to engage with our inner reflection can take many forms.
It's not necessary to sit and meditate. That thought in itself can turn into a struggle as you try to commit to something that doesn't come naturally to you.
Take yourself out for a walk. Make the effort to shut out the world and stay present to your experiencing of walking.
Choose a time of day that works best for you. It's cooler in my region now which means I can walk during the day.
Many times over the years taking to the streets and walking it off was enormously soothing for distress and overwhelm. There's something about movement that makes it possible to process these types of disturbing situations.
One occasion that comes to mind was when my heart was truly broken as a young adult. My subsequent actions conflicted with how I had been taught life should be. So overwhelmed was I that I paced up and down the tracks on the family farm well into the night. My brother walked beside me for what must have been hours.
Whether it was exhaustion or some form of resolution that brought me back, I don't recall. What I do know, is that it took that exhausting experience to sort through and process the shift in worldview that I was experiencing as I realised that marriage was no cinderella story. My prince turned out not be my knight in shining armour, and I didn't have a clue how to be the good princess.
Since then, even when my fitness is not great, I will accept an invitation to walk.
Committing to 71 Km of the Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand after being unwell for some time was an exercise in trust. Knowing that I was barely able to walk around the block, it seemed a bit reckless. By remaining present to each day's walk, taking my time and putting one foot in front of the other, not only did I fully recover my health, I finished feeling strong and fit.
Nowadays, in light of the CV-19 virus and all that is happening in the world, I often feel despair. I know from years of experience that the solution is to stay present to what is happening for me now. Walking regularly helps sort through unanswered questions, unresolved inner conflicts, and ideas and direction for the future.
The simple act of walking costs nothing at all. Try it.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.