I’ve been putting some intentional effort to get out and go for a short walk once or twice a week around my neighborhood. A lot of my time is spent writing or on the computer and I just don’t get enough movement and exercise in my day. I went for about a 40 minute walk just a little bit ago. It’s a lovely, sunny, autumn day here in the mountains.
It’s a nice way to develop a deeper connection to one’s neighborhood by going for walks around them. I like to take different routes and go down streets I never had before. Some particular things I enjoyed seeing on my walk today were: a long legged dog rolling around enthusiastically on its back in the dirt, an older man operating what appeared to be a home-made remote control lawn mower, a parade of yellow leaves floating down a nearby stream, and a tree trunk that was twisted around itself.
I like to use my walks to practice mindful breathing, smiling, and joyfulness by paying attention to the houses and yards as I pass by them and opening my heart to the people dwelling inside. I like to practice looking up when I’m on walks too. Sending my eyes upwards to the tree tops and clouds. The simple act of looking up helps us to expand our perspective and can often remind us to come back home to the present moment.
The first picture above is from a nearby labyrinth, situated next to a community garden behind a local church about a 10 minute walk from my house. Sometimes I walk there and slowly move through the labyrinth. For years I didn’t even know it was there. And sometimes, like today, I just stopped by to enjoy its presence.
There’s so much to see in one’s neighborhood. So much to absorb through the senses. If we use it as a practice of connection and joy we can transform our steps into an art – the art of mindful walking. Enjoy your steps my friends!