4 April 2018

The Joy of Walking

We drive our cars. We need to get places. We’re on a schedule. Need to get things done.

Tick, tock, tick, tock.

The streets are cluttered. Cars are weaving in and out. Lights are taking too long.

Sound familiar?

Are we traveling too fast? Missing our surroundings? Are we even really seeing what’s going on before us or our minds flashing with a hundred things that need to be done that day?

Are we driving too much while forgetting that we can walk to destinations not too far away?

I moved a mile from a current job and I was eager to ride my bike. More exercise and not to mention, saving on gas. It was nice for a while. I focused so much on riding and worrying about weaving around cars and people, I was missing something about being outdoors. I was missing the joy.

One day I decided to go for a walk. Have you ever just taken a stroll and experienced the scene around you? Really listened to the birds chirping, the wind blowing gently against your face. The wind as it shivered the leaves on a tree.

I hadn’t until I started walking. One mile to work and one back home.

The first day I walked, I felt the muscle in my legs ache. I hadn’t been using certain muscles while riding my bike, but walking that first mile and the second back home gave me a good wake up. Made me feel good. Energized. My body was moving. My skin was soaking up the outdoors. My mind was settled. Sometimes it wandered. Sometimes it revealed the things I’d been worrying about that were causing a tightness in my shoulders and upper back.

Taking the time to walk taught me to be in the present moment. To enjoy the nature of my surroundings. In the mornings, I take in the quietness of the neighborhood. I say hello to fellow walkers and their dogs. In the afternoon, if the sun’s out, I feel a light perspiration on my skin as I notice a cat sneaking up on a little bird or a gopher popping its head out of the ground. Sometimes I just watch the clouds in the blue sky as the wind pushes them into beautiful shapes. I never noticed the clouds as much as I do on my daily walks. Somehow all the list of things I needed to get done don’t seem to matter so much.

They’ll get done.

Now when I’m not working, I go for a two-mile walk on my days off. Just for the pure joy, for the light exercise. To listen to the sounds of my environment. To be present in the moment. To experience. To feel peace and happiness. And you know what? I don’t notice that tightness in my shoulders and back anymore.

One day take a walk.

You may just discover the joy of walking.

28 January 2018

Journey to Simplicity

This year, I had a web crash. All of my web data and blog posts had been compromised and my site was taken over. It was pretty stressful. My web designer helped get back the bare bones of the site but pretty much everything was gone. I had over 12 years of blogs. That’s a lot of words and memories. I can now look back at it as a lesson that it was time to get rid of the old built up data that I was no longer using and start over.

It’s also something I’ve been trying to do with my life. Get rid of the old and keep only what is useful and a necessity. I call this life change my journey to simplicity.

About three years ago, I started to get sick. There wasn’t a label to put on what I had but I knew something was wrong with my body. I was also under a ton of stress. As a writer, that’s when the research began into being healthier.

Gluten was part of my problem. It was causing inflammation in my body and I had to learn what to eat all over again. No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine and no processed foods for a month. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. And there began the change in my life.

Now my diet is pretty simple. I try to eat simple whole foods of vegetables and grains, minimal processed dairy, and I’ve become a pescatarian because it makes me feel better. I began to read books and blogs on simplicity and minimalism. I began to clean out the built up belongings in our home. Things I held onto out of obligation or stuff that was still in good condition but I hadn’t touched in years. It had taken time to realize that clutter was one of the main causes of my stress and anxiety.

The thing is my journey to simplicity is still a work in progress. I have a family who still has tons of stuff. And the stuff is what we need to deal with our daily lives.

I just know the simpler I make my life, the easier I can manage the lives of my family, our home, my jobs and my writing. It also gives me time to squeeze in for myself in order to stay healthier and happier.