01 June 2012

Take a Walk!

Have you been wondering what you might do differently in your life to add something new?  Has there been something missing, but you can't figure out what it is?  I've found that when people start to feel that way, it's usually because they've grown so accustomed to their day-to-day lives that they've stopped seeing just how marvelous and astonishing the world they're in actually is.

I like to go for walks often to remind myself just how many cool things there are on this planet, and just how many of those things are available to me to experience.  When I walk in the woods, I have to pay attention as I walk to be sure that I don't walk by the tiny white flowers or the beautiful green grasshoppers or the moths that my wife and I call "hummingbird moths" because they hover and fly just like hummingbirds, and they feed at flowers just as hummingbirds do, with a long proboscis.  It's fascinating to watch the changes of light and to feel the changes in temperature and in the breezes as I walk, too.

But maybe forests aren't your thing.  They can be buggy and muggy and just plain uncomfortable sometimes, can't they?  Well, I also like walking in downtown areas to watch people, to experience what it's like to be surrounded by many people, feeling the energy and vibrations that all the people give off.  I like to look at their faces and wonder what kind of people they are, knowing that if I do try to describe them based on looks alone, I'll almost certainly be wrong.  But anywhere that gives me access to seeing and being with people is a great place to spend some time, truly observing others, not just seeing them.

And that may not interest you, either.  Maybe you're the type of person who likes a more controlled environment, be it a park or a mall.  Parks are usually well landscaped and well maintained, which tends to give us a sense of security, a feeling of comfort.  Malls, too, are strongly controlled environments that allow us to see some of the remarkable things that our fellow human beings are inventing, producing, and trying to sell to us, from new novels to novelty items to unique fashions.

No matter where you prefer to walk, of course, one of the most important things that you can be sure of is that you're contributing to your health, helping to strengthen your heart and tone your muscles.  And if you walk while fully aware, you're helping to remind yourself of just what a wonderful planet we live on, and just how cool your place on it and in it can be.

Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation,
a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind.
Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.

Gary Snyder

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