At PRA we don’t just have lunch, we “strategically renew” at midday. Sometimes that means using lunchtime for typical stuff like eating or running errands, but we are also encouraged to use the time to mindfully take a short break away from our work. Like many of us, sometimes I will use this time to take advantage of the beautiful walking trail in the neighborhood.
When I volunteered to write a blog post about walking for wellness, I thought to myself, “I’m no expert on this.” I believe that is OK. I don’t think we have to be experts on the science of walking to recognize its benefits.
We walk for many reasons. We can walk for a cause, with other people, with dogs, alone, for exercise, as pilgrimage, in protest, in solidarity, to sightsee, as a rite of passage, or to get from point A to point B. The list goes on and on, but no matter why we walk, the basic process is the same—place one foot before the other, and then again (and repeat).
My favorite walking is the kind that has no fixed expectations, no benchmarks, no target goals. I just go. In my layperson’s beginner approach to walking meditation, the idea is to practice walking, on a regular basis, and that the act of practicing is itself an end goal. Some days you will feel calm and peaceful, some days you won’t. Some days you will see something interesting, some days you won’t. The beauty of the practice is that you can take the same walk every day, but each time it will be different.
If you want to learn more about walking meditation don’t ask me. Try it for yourself, or ask an expert. There are so many resources available, even online, by professional practitioners of various faiths. Thich Nhat Hanh is an expert whose writings I have enjoyed reading, one of several professional practitioners whose work inspired me to write this post.
Here are a few pictures from some of my walks this past winter-a snow-covered road, a mini free library, and a found “yarn bomb” along the trail. I look forward to more days of walking in the coming year.