My second favorite time of the day is when I lace up my sneakers and head outside for a long walk, sans music. There are few things I enjoy more than surrounding myself with greenery and nature, and just walking…or hiking…. The sway of the branches, the breeze of the leaves, and the bird songs rejuvenate my brain, heart and soul in ways I could never put into words. This isn’t about exercise, per se, though the calorie burn is a great bonus. It’s not about pace or distance, though I do walk a brisk pace, and can easily cover six miles without hesitation. This, too, is about letting my mind go…turning down the conscious part and opening the channels to allow any and every kind of thought into my mind for contemplation. It tickles my right brain, sparks ideas for blog posts or gifts, and helps me keep things in a healthy perspective. These moments nourish me as food and water nourish my body.
So last week, when a friend and I were discussing weight management and her current food struggles in a lengthy e-mail exchange, I was really surprised when she wrote the following:
"I look at you and seriously have to ask if I even WANT to walk 8 miles a day and eat a restricted diet. I'd like to look and feel like you, yeah, but do I want to live like you? It's an important consideration."
Yes, it is an important consideration, but it’s all about perspective. I’ll address the “restricted diet” part in another blog post, but the walking part prompted an immediate response. I don’t walk because I have to; I walk because I want to. I don’t walk because I should; I walk because I can. In my mind, it’s such a privilege to be able to choose a beautiful place and head there for a long walk. It’s an honor to be surrounded by trees and lakes and gorges, to immerse myself with such natural beauty. I don’t always have time to log in 8 miles, but when I do, I feel lucky! I love to challenge myself with longer distances or harder trails. No one makes me do it; it’s a pleasure I look forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). It’s all about perspective.
When I head out for a walk or a hike, burning calories are the last thing on my mind, though I will admit that might have been my initial motivation ages ago. Now, when I’m lacing up my sneakers, I’m excited about going out find peace of mind and joy. And there are few things more precious to me than that.