I gratefully welcome back to the blog writer Yvette K. Harpootian, whose first guest post, “Finding Joy,” (June 30, 2014) was the most popular and widely-read entry on this blog last year. Thank you, Yvette!
Keep Calm and Take A Walk
Go go go! Do you notice that our lives can be so hectic, scheduled and busy that sometimes we don’t stop until we collapse in bed? Even our breathing can be short and shallow. Do you mindfully decompress on a regular basis? Maybe you paint, play an instrument, bike, knit. I enjoy taking a walk to unwind and was moved to write about it when Lisa invited me back to contribute to her blog.
There are many benefits and reasons to take a walk besides exercise:
- walk the dog
- spend time with someone
- become mindful (if not on the phone or listening to music)
“ An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” — Henry David Thoreau
When you go for a walk NOTICE:
The sky, not just that it is blue but how deep the blue is, how it mirrors the blue of the ocean sometimes, comparing how close the blues are…
The trees, the color of the trunks and how the branches lean into the street. Look at the vines that wrap around and around other branches hanging from up high.
Observe the many, many types of leaves, taking the time to notice the different shapes, sizes and colors.
Sometimes you will find something new in familiar places.
One day while I was on a walking path I often take, I noticed something different and unique. I spotted flowers on the leaves of trees I’ve looked at for years! Phantasmic! I thought I was dreaming, so I went back and took a picture! What a surprise gift it was that day.
It is amazing what you can see on a walk — the green grass so vibrant, like it was freshly painted. The endless variety of flowers sprinkling the foliage with vibrant purple, yellow, pink, white. Fields and fields of ferns.
It is also remarkable what you smell: the fresh green scent or the sandy fragrance of the ocean, salt, and suntan lotion.
Through my walks, I see God all around me, showing me His treasures, His gifts to us, His presence, His love.
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.” –Martin Luther
As you are walking, breathing, exhaling, you will feel cleansed and relaxed. You feel God all around you, taking away your fears, your pain, your anxiety. You have joy.
Focusing on the natural beauty around you is focusing on God. It is then that we have clarity and peace. Our distractions are drained from our minds, and we have a clean slate. The worry, the stress, the fears, the disappointments: they’re all gone.
Find the neighborhood boys’ T-shirts strewn on a bridge and hear them enjoy the water they just jumped into below. See a piece of railroad track or a remnant landing platform, and imagine what that train stop was like in the old days. Suddenly, your mind that was jumbled is now filled with wonderment, beauty and peace. It is those small things that are so important and bring much peace and appreciation. Often it seems like we are too busy with work, appointments or getting the latest social media update to even notice these small treasures around us.
What does all this mean to our creative lives? Everything written here, for example, was inspired by the simple, natural beautiful things I noticed on my walks this weekend. There is so much art in nature to appreciate, describe, draw.
“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.” — Claude Monet
A walk lets us empty our minds and prepares us to focus on the next project rather than worry about it. It clears writers block, inspires solutions. Use the walk to sort through things in your mind that caused you conflict and confusion. Clear your mind and you will approach life better. You will feel gratitude and appreciation for all around you.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.” — John Burroughs
I challenge you: go take a walk!!
Yvette K. Harpootian is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.