- Jason McCarty
The Power of Walking
I like simple things that have a lot of meaning. I also like utilizing experiences that do not require a whole lot of preparation, planning, and money. Over the past year I have been walking a lot. I walk back and forth to work most days and take walks at other times, either with my kids or alone. I used to hate walking because it was slow. I liked getting wherever I was going, quickly. Walking seemed to be such a waste of energy and so utterly boring to me.
Last summer when I started to walk back and forth to work I found myself really enjoying it. At first I did it out of necessity due to only having one car but then the time I spent walking before and after work became my two most favorite parts of the day.
I enjoyed it for several reasons. One, it was time to be by myself, not having to be present for clients and not having to be present for my family. It was space for me to spend time alone. Two, it slowed me down. It allowed me to be more present, whereas I explained before I used to rush everywhere. It slowed me down into the moment and I started to appreciate that moment. It almost became more real, as though when I was rushing the moment didn’t really exist. Three, it created a space and a process whereby I could do a lot of deep thinking. I would write in my head. Many writers have talked about writing better after they took walks. Something about the movement of the body can be really important in aiding the mind’s ability to process.
One step at a time. I think walking is something we can look at more deeply. It can become very meditative. Sometimes when we are stuck psychologically, we actually need to move physically. Walking can act as a sort of “working things out” type of physical process. Some also find this in running. But it is the slow element that did so much for me. It forced me to process things that were painful at the time. It forced me to be with myself. I would often listen to music, another aid in processing information. Sometimes I would walk in silence though too.
Part of what I am getting at here is we often forget to incorporate the body into our psychological health. We tend to just think and process in a static place. But the fluidity of thought that comes from walking I believe is born out of the actual physical movement of the body. But it is simple. It’s just walking. We don’t need to complicate it, we just need to do it. I’m not talking a balanced lifestyle that incorporates exercise. That’s helpful too. I am talking about the power that walking has on the mind, on our whole sense of being. I’m talking about how the physical movement of the body can aid in the psychological movement of the mind and of the heart.
If you are feeling lost in your life or find yourself at great indecision, I would encourage you to start walking. Just walk. Walk somewhere that takes some time. Keep doing it until you notice that you have slowed down. Allow it to slow you down. Walking can for some, as it did for me, bring us back to ourselves. Walk alone. Be with yourself. Allow walking to show you the world you are rushing by. Notice the environment around you. Pay attention to what you see. As you pay attention to what is around you, the mind will begin to work on its own. As you just walk, the mind will be able to find clarity at times because the body is moving instead of staying stagnant.
Lastly, walking-as-being, or walking-as-process, is something done consciously. It is a conscious choice to engage your life as you live it each step of the way.