Walking. Listening. Learning. Connecting.
If I have said it once, I have said it 1,000 times…
Exercise is not my favorite thing. But, I know I need to do it. So, I decided to switch up the routine and take a walk in the neighborhood. There are trails, trees and an abundance of frisky squirrels to keep me entertained.
Sounds like a great idea, right!
Well… it was… until I got ready to leave when a full out argument broke out… with MYSELF!
The topic? My cell phone.
Me: Don’t forget to grab the phone.
Also Me: Eh!
Me: What do you mean, “Eh!” Get the phone!
Also Me: Nah. I think the silence will be good.
Me: What! Silence? Who does that? There are a TON of ‘Watch Later’ videos waiting for you in the YouTube cue. And what if an important text or call comes through? Get the phone!
Also Me: Nope. No phone. Silence. Just me.
Me: Ugh! No. It’s not safe without your phone. What if something happens? Get the phone!
Also Me: Umm… If I have my earbuds in I won’t be able to hear anything other than what’s playing in my ear and that actually feels LESS safe. I’m good. No phone.
Me: OK. Fine. I don’t want to go!
Also Me: Too bad! You don’t have a choice.
OK. It sounds kind of funny, but that was my internal dialogue on a Tuesday afternoon. Why?
Like so many of us, I have become painfully accustomed to being entertained (aka distracted) by SOMETHING every waking hour of the day. The mere idea of going somewhere without my cell phone feels nothing short of CRAY-ZEE! It has become a part of me, who I am.
That said, I recognize the challenge in that. I Am increasingly aware of the time I spend mindlessly scrolling or Googling, searching for something to fill spaces that fill empty, boring, difficult, etc.
Choosing to be present in the moment, aware of the feelings that need my attention, pushed me outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to connect with myself (and the world around me) at a deeper, more intimate level.
So, I did it. And guess what! I survived that 45-ish minutes without any mishaps and had a few “AHA-esque” moments along the way.
It’s OK to Talk to Strangers
Although we are all raised with warnings to NOT talk to strangers, as an adult, I think it’s important to be a little rebellious and put that that old warning aside. Why? Because saying, “Hi. How are you?” is basically harmless (trust me, I’ve tried it out TONS of times) and it connects us to those around us, deepening our connection to humanity.
Acknowledge Your Inspirations
I ran into a woman I had seen many times before. She was always on foot, doing her sweaty, brisk walk thing. I, on the other hand, was always in my car headed God only knows where. As though she were a celebrity I had always wanted to meet, I felt a bit of excitement when I saw her come around the corner. I tapped her arm and said, “I always see you walking and you inspired me to get out here.” She smiled, said thank you and told me to “Keep up the good work!” I think we both walked away feeling a smidge better about our workout. We BOTH win!
It’s OK to NOT Go So Fast
As I walked, I heard and saw cars (and school buses) zooming up and down the street. Yes. We all have places to go and people to see, and sometimes our busy schedules leave us feeling rushed to get to the next thing on our list, but slowing down and taking it all in makes the journey so much sweeter. We can rush, rush, rush or we can take a little time to slow down and take it all in.
My Thoughts Are Ever-Present…And That is OK
I am often frustrated by the busy-ness of my brain, the thoughts running around like crazy toddlers who’ve just found the freedom of their feet. I wanted this walk to be an opportunity for them to be calm, quiet even. That did not happen. In fact, they were wild as ever. Instead of fighting them, I calmly allowed them to come and go. If something felt not-so-good, I met it with compassion. For those that felt warm and sweet, I offered gratitude for their presence and invited them to come again…at a later date. Choosing gentleness with the goings on in our head (and heart) is always a recipe for success.
It’s OK to Slow Down
From time to time when I’m working out my knee will feel achy. Often, when this happens, my inclination is to just stop what I’m doing. On my walk I decided that, from now on, if I felt the pain I would slow down, not stop. We all face situations where stopping feels like the right thing because continuing would be too challenging. But some of our greatest lessons are found in the midst of pain or difficulty.
We all know there are plenty of distractions around us, people and things that derail us from our priorities. But, we are at our best when we take the time to disconnect from the distractions in an effort to reconnect to what matters most — being our best self.
Is it time for you to take a (mostly) silent walk?