I hope this note finds you well. I’ve just returned from my early morning walk in the woods and feel ready for the day ahead.
I’ve been thinking about my walks and the profound effect taking them has had on me. My life – my health, my personal and spiritual development, and my art making – all benefit from this daily practice. When I started walking over 10 years ago it was as part of my recovery from an acute depression. A trusted practitioner told me to ‘get out in the fresh air, take deep breaths, swing your arms as you walk….’ So I did and it really helped.
Later, when Ellie the Art Dog came into my life, we joined a friend who walked her dog daily and our walks became a regular morning ritual. Knowing she was waiting for me at the Park entrance at 6:00 a.m. gave me the motivation to get up early so that both Ellie and I could get our exercise. There has also been a deepening of our friendship in sharing the events of the previous day and our plans for the day ahead.
In the last year or so, I’ve been walking more often on my own. This time alone has opened up a new level of observing and appreciating all that I experience during my walking meditation. I now pause more often to watch the soft silver-white tendrils of mist rising from the pond, to listen to the creek as it burbles along, or to tip my head back and look up-up to see the very tips of the tall trees as they sway in the wind. I leave feeling fully nourished and restored to myself, inspired to get into the studio, play and see what happens!
I am truly blessed to have spent countless hours in the Park in all weathers, roaming the woods and splashing across the creek, watching the snow fall and seeing the sun rise, breathing in the fresh scent of pine needles and hearing the cardinal sing. When I miss a day, there really is no other substitute that feeds my soul in quite the same way, so I do my darnedest to make sure we get there everyday.
No matter where you live, I hope you can get outside each day to see the sky, smell the earth, feel the breeze against your skin, or enjoy the shade from a tree……discover and embrace the abundance of nature and it will support you all your days.