A Nice Long Walk
tom walsh

  

I think that I've been fortunate to have an innate urge all my life to take long walks.  Ever since I was a kid (and my wife would argue that those days aren't over!), I've always loved heading out and walking for hours sometimes, often with no particular destination or reason for going other than just to get out and see some more of life.  These walks have done a lot to keep me aware and to keep me healthy, and I've learned more through walking than I ever could have by sitting at home, doing nothing.

One of the prerequisites for enjoying a nice long walk is having no real time table.  If you have to be back at a certain time, that's okay, but it certainly doesn't promote spontaneity or searching out new roads or paths.  It also speeds you up, which means that your chances of noticing things definitely go down.  You may still notice the major things that you go by such as houses and trees and nice views, but you'll miss the things like the cool insect on the tall grass or the way the light makes certain bushes shimmer.  I would never not take a walk because I had a deadline, but I try to make sure that I have time to stop where I want to (especially if the urge for a cup of coffee hits), to extend my walk, or to explore new directions.

The health benefits of the long walk cannot be disputed.  Our bodies were made to be used, and walking is great exercise.  It's also very low-impact, which means that our chances of hurting ourselves while out for a walk are very low.  Walking also helps the heart by getting to to beat more strongly, helps our circulation and our lungs, and helps us to shape and define our muscles, especially in our legs.  No one's going to get the body of a body builder by walking, but the long-term benefits of walking are well documented, which is why so many doctors recommend the practice for those of us who need exercise.

The mental benefits of walking are also many.  Walking for me has a very similar effect to meditation for other people.  It helps me to clear my mind, and it helps me to think through problems and dilemmas.  When I'm out walking without hurry and without a destination, my mind tends to relax as I focus on so many things outside of myself, as I see the natural world around me and breathe the fresh air.  A long walk can help me to reach a state of clarity much more easily than any other practice that I've ever discovered, and walks have often helped me through difficult times in my life.

I try to walk as much as I can.  If we need a gallon of milk, I'd much rather take the twenty-minute walk to the store than the three-minute drive.  When I have a break at work I often take advantage of the time to get out and spend the time walking.  Even if I'm seeing the same things that I always see on such walks, they're never exactly the same.  Every walk has its own personality, its own feel, and I love to see and feel those changes inside.  I don't remember ever being bored on any walk I've ever taken--there's always something interesting to see.

In our modern world of hurry and convenience, I often find that I'm the only one out on the street, walking.  Sidewalks in most places tend to be empty, except for downtown areas during business hours.  I see very few people walk to the store, and most of those I do see tend to be either very old or very young.  One of the things that I love about Spain is that the people are out walking so often--usually the streets of most towns are packed with people, except during siesta.  This fact leads to much stronger social ties, as people who are walking have the chance to stop and chat with someone they know, something we just can't do when we're in our cars.

For many people, walking hasn't been an option for years.  It's no longer one of the choices they have to make--should we walk to the movies, or drive?  For most of us, it's assumed that we'll drive wherever we go.  And that's a shame, for most people never will know just what they're losing by depriving themselves of the experience of walking.

  

Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation,
a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind.
Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.

Gary Snyder

    


  
welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations
 the people behind the words - our current e-zine
 articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation

  

  

All contents Living Life Fully, all rights reserved.

   

HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity - advertising - aging - ambition
anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance - art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe
balance - beauty - being yourself - beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community - comparison - compassion
competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence - conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation
courage - covetousness - creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions - encouragement - enlightenment
enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise - experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding
fear - feelings - finances - flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief - growing up - guilt - habit
happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home - honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity
idleness  - idolatry - ignorance - illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge - language - laughter - laziness
leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness - love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation
mindfulness - miracles - mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature - negative attitude
now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting - passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism
perseverance - perspective - pessimism - play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise
prayer
- prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - reading -recreation - reflection - relationships
religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest - revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety
seasons of life - self - self-love - self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success - suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions - trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values
vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war - wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship
youth - spring - summer - fall - winter - Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America - Zen sayings - articles & excerpts
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction - obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words

  

We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!

   

   

Now you can have almost 4,000 quotations from our extensive collection to take with you wherever you go, for just 99 cents.  For less than one dollar, you can have this collection on your Kindle or your laptop (when you download the Kindle for PC program)--and have the wisdom of the ages with you for your perusal at any time you  may want or need it.  This is priceless content that can add incredibly positive thoughts to whatever kind of day or week you may be going through. . . helpful advice always will be just a couple of clicks away!