Tube strike? What tube strike?! TFL can’t keep us from walking, using my own legs to get me from A to B is my favourite so I saw yesterday as a Challenge (as I like to see a lot of things, competitive with myself much?!?!)
So yesterday it was just me, my Eastpak and Nike Air Max.
I first tried Mindful Walking about the same time I started trying to Meditate. For me, it really was a revelation. I like efficiency, because I am so busy! Apart from when I meditate I am DOING, THINKING, PLANNING all the time. So walking really is an ideal opportunity to train the mind because I don’t need to take any extra time out of the day, I’m already walking!!! There are so many opportunities to be mindful and present when walking – to the station, to a meeting, to the supermarket, so you really can pick any time to try it, starting off with small chunks of 10 minutes or so like you would with meditation. I have learnt that there is never a WRONG way of practicing being mindful. You just try, and if you feel at the end better, calmer, happier then what could be bad about that?
What about Now?
“…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whatever form. Both are illusions.” Ekhart Tolle
For a lot of people, the usual experience of walking is that they are thinking, planning; either very involved in remembering something from the PAST or looking forward to the FUTURE, so we miss out on the NOW! Walking and being more present means we are able to take in more of what is around us, and likely notice things we have never ever seen before, opening up a whole new world of opportunities:
“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.” J. R. R Tolkien
Training the mind whilst walking means taking every opportunity to bring the mind back to NOW, instead of spending all our time in our own heads. It’s natural to often assume that because we are in the same places that everything is always the same. But it never is!! There is ALWAYS something different, and our mind is always different, so it’s ability to notice things changes all the time. Like my friends amazing little boy Wilson, who gave me an inspiring lesson in being mindful a few weeks ago. We were walking to the beach in Shoreham and he said “Look at the clouds Katie, aren’t they beautiful!!”
So I did. And they really were beautiful! I love to be reminded to open my eyes and look around, and whenever I remember to do this I smile, because I am taken out of whatever nonsense (usually!) I am thinking about in my head and immediately taken into the wider world. It helps me to think BIG thoughts, and get BIG answers, rather than tiny thoughts,
“If you think really small thoughts you get really small answers”
Mindful Walking is all about trying to bring your mind into the physical senses of the body and out of thinking. For me, a “Gently Does it” approach works best. Try it in bite sized chunks and know that it will be different depending on where you are – in Nature is ideal for me, and my fave, but happens rarely. So instead I make do with the streets of London and beyond, anywhere along the River Thames is also ace, really just being outside makes me feel good, and connected to the world and my surroundings, which all goes to enhance my overall feeling of Wellbeing. Thich Nhat Hanh says that when we are walking we can look around and see / feel how wondrous life is, inside ourselves and all around us. The light in the vast expansive sky overhead, birdsong, the caress of a breeze on our face, the smell of cut grass, the taste of morning air. We can enjoy each nourishing, healing step and imprint our gratitude upon this beloved earth. How lovely is that….
Take a watch of this for more information, there are also lots of guided meditations you can listen to when you first try, like on Head Space for example 🙂
I hope you found this interesting and manage to try some Mindful Walking for yourself this weekend, it will hopefully make you feel good, give you some exercise, and leave you with a new perspective on a place you may think you have “seen” a million times.
lots of love Katie xxx