With the arrival of some spring-like weather I’ve been getting out for my morning river walks again. I got cold and wimpy through the long, cold winter (and then into the cold, rainy spring), but I’ve been back at it for the past few days and it feels fantastic. It’s such an important part of my morning in helping me get grounded and settled into myself for the day. I always make sure to stop and be grateful for a few moments that I am fortunate enough to be able to do these quiet morning walks.
One really important part of my walks is that I go *by myself*. I don’t walk with anyone, I don’t have any electronics going (I do take my phone with me just in case there’s an emergency or I see something cool I need to take a picture of), and I just try to empty my mind. Which sounds easy but is excruciatingly difficult for me. I spend the first half of my walk fretting away whatever chatter is going on up there and then usually am able to settle into enjoying the walk for the second half. Usually. Sometimes I’m either starving or have to go to the bathroom (a killer when you’re walking by running water) and am trying to rush through it.
I notice how many other people I see on the path who are engrossed in their phones. Texting or doing something like that. There are lots of people running and walking listening to music – I don’t have music on walking, but I totally understand the need to when jogging. It’s the only thing that would help keep me running. But, there’s also a lot of people either reading, texting or talking on their phones while walking. Which I don’t get at all because it means they totally miss all the cool things that are out there.
Such as this thingey I came across this morning:
Thinking about how I *don’t get at all* how these people immerse themselves in their phones and miss out on the beauty of the walk made me think about how I sometimes fill my day with white noise. Sometimes I get upset at the kids for wandering around the house holding their laptops (headphones on thank goodness) watching a show, completely oblivious to what’s going on around them – usually what’s going on is me trying to get their attention. Then I reflect on my own behaviour. I both love and hate our portable devices. I think they’ve helped make it much easier to take the quiet out of the day. I’ll listen to music while I get ready. I have the iPad hooked up in the kitchen so I can watch a show on Hulu while I am cooking or doing dishes. I watch the iPad while I’m on the elliptical (otherwise I die of boredom), sometimes I even soil a yoga practice by having something playing in the background (a show that is, not music). Much too often when I’m bored or lonely I turn on a show instead of opening a book or heading outside.
Although I’m noticing now that I’m more aware that those moments are becoming less. When I’m bored and have some downtime I’ll try to head outside with my book – even sometimes just sit out there in silence and listen to nature and watch the birds and my fish. Living here has brought a lot of quiet into my life. Some welcomed, some not so much. But I think there’s a big lesson to be learned in it. To welcome and surrender to the quiet. Every moment doesn’t have to be filled with some mindless noise or mindless activity. I’ve found that those quiet moments bring up thoughts and feelings that sometimes aren’t so welcome and that the immediate instinct is to go fill those noises up with the white noise of TV or Facebook. But also those quiet moments bring real, pure, golden thoughts and feelings and emotions which I would have missed. I’m trying to bring more of those into my life and I’m pretty sure one of the best ways is to find more ways to unplug. Which is incredibly difficult for me a lot of the time.
Except on my walk. It’s the only place in my life right now I never have the desire to be plugged in. So, I will keep up the walking, the peace, the “unpluggedness” that comes with my morning walk.