Walking won’t burn calories like running, bicycling or many other types of exercise, but slowing down can open the door to an experience that’s as good for the soul as it is for the heart. I’m a runner, and my usual practice when I run is to put in my ear buds and listen to a podcast. I tell myself it’s efficient–I’m learning and staying informed while I’m exercising… what could be better? Routine and focus have their place, but with my ears plugged and my eyes on the road I know I’m missing something. That’s when I need Henry David Thoreau to kick me out of my rut.
Walking with Attitude
Thoreau believed that every step out your front door was an opportunity for discovery, a chance for peak experience. “We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.” I don’t think Thoreau was seriously suggesting that you start walking and never come home, but he was saying that if you act as if your destination is Mount Everest or the Kalahari Desert, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to see things you otherwise might miss.
Give it a try. The world is a beautiful place. Walk and imagine your eyes are seeing what no human eyes have seen before (and leave those ear buds at home). Walk heroically, like Henry David. Walk to refresh your spirit.
(More Tuesday Tips here.)