I think Nietzsche was right. I’m a walker. I feel the need to take time out every day for a walk. Putting on my walking shoes is a way of plugging into the universe. The movement of feet across the ground is such an integral part of the conversation and the awareness created of the world around me is a reminder of my connection to it.
The shift in perspective is instant at the commencement of a walk. This is most true when walking for walking’s sake. It’s often not the same when walking to get somewhere, like when I walk to the shops to get food. The real magic happens in the walk that has no destination. We get betrayed by destinations.
Most often I walk alone. I also find there is much joy, inspiration and love in sharing a walk. Last weekend was a great example. Definitely there was some initial hesitation about going when my friends Rohan and Helene invited me to go walking with them last weekend along Addis Point. My mind initially when to the thought of ‘Do I have time?’ The intended hike was about an hours drive from where I live and I have a lot going on in my life, including travel plans, moving house and managing a busy work load (all really good problems to have by the way). So that was where my mind went.
Fortunately I’ve decided I’m no longer giving a lot of energy to the negative thoughts about time. I’ve been doing some study around Einstein’s theories of relativity and time and while I feel I’m a long stretch from understanding them, at a minimum I’ve decided that the perception of time is definitely relative and so I have enough time if I say I do
Heading out of the city, spending time in nature and walking for walking’s sake is important. It will cleanse your soul. I’ve done it enough times to know that’s true for me. And yet the sense of peace and bliss still takes me by surprise each time, as though I couldn’t have seen it coming.
I’m not saying the walk was easy. It was a workout on a 30 degree day. But that is perhaps also the perfect combination of mind and body cleansing. (There’s definitely loads of health benefits of walking).
Then there’s the magic too…
When I’m hiking, there is a moment of magic every time I look up. Sometimes I can be walking and in my thoughts and looking down, watching where I’m going. Then I catch myself and I look up. It’s a moment of magic; a moment of awe at the environment, and a reminder to look up more often in my everyday life.
Butterflies appeared like magic on our walk. I had literally just been speaking about butterflies and suddenly they appeared all around us. I wanted to get a photo of the butterflies but they were too fast. It reminded me of the words of Thoreau…
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Then there was the lizard, so camouflage that it’s a wonder we saw it at all. A stark contrast to the bright red birds on the green backdrop which reminded me of strawberries.
What was so awesome was getting to the end of the day after having walked such a long distance and in such heat and yet feel energised by the experience. There are days when I could expend half as much energy while sitting at a desk and feel tired at the end of it. The walk however, put me in a better space physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to take on the many things I was planning to do the following week.
Feeling inspired when I got home, I did some research on walking and its benefits and I just loved some of the things that people have expressed about what they get from walking and I can relate to all of them.
Here is my list of the most important reasons to for regular walking…
Walk for creativity
“Nothing like a night-time stroll to give you ideas.” – J.K. Rowling
Walk for inspiration
“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” – Henry David Thoreau
Walk for your health
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” – G.M. Trevelyan
Walk for gratitude
“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.” – George Macauley Trevelyan
Walk for happiness
“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” – Paul Dudley White
Walk for your spirit
“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.” – Aldous Huxley
Walk to build relationships
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens
Walk to relieve stress
“We live in a fast-paced society. Walking slows us down.” – Robert Sweetgall
Walk to solve personal problems
“Walking is good for solving problems — it’s like the feet are little psychiatrists.” – Terri Guillemets
There’s something about the rhythm of walking, how, after about an hour and a half, the mind and body can’t help getting in sync. – Bjork