When was the last time you went outside and really took in your surroundings - the air, the trees, the sounds. Something so simple, but often overlooked as we hustle through our busy lives. With each passing minute, the world around us is altered in the slightest of ways, but each creates pockets of peace and appreciation. If only we would notice…
Mindful walking is an active presence on a walk, allowing yourself to notice the environment around you and how your body moves within it. This can be done alone, creating space for self-care and individual time, free from stressors of work and personal settings. Something complex and thought provoking can be found with every step taken. Walking down a busy street, a path in a pristine park, or taking a lap around your favorite pond; these settings all offer the chance to identify the living things beyond your direct line of sight.
This mode of walking not only allows for a visual awakening, but an expansive utilization of all senses. Sure, moving your head around allows you to identify different things that are not in front of you. Reframe how sight is used: look for small movements in the brush, the way the sky connects to the river below; how the colors, though contrasting, work together in harmony. Expand your auditory perception to hone in on sounds you might usually miss. Your tactile, taste, and olfactory senses can work together to heighten your experience in the rhythm of the ground against your feet and the taste and smell of the breeze and scents combined into one. Let each sense build on another until you have a holistic sensory experience.
Even though mindful walking may seem like it takes some effort, doesn’t everything? You may be thinking that getting up, dressed, and out the door to just walk around does not sound like it could make a difference in your day. Or maybe it seems impossible because the world outside means temperatures below zero or any range of uncontrollable weather patterns. You can walk anywhere. Inside. Outside. Both. Adapt mindful walking to your life and needs.
Each walk does not need to be hours long discovering a new place in your city for its aesthetic associations. Walking and connecting with your surroundings is the center of this activity. It is natural to find yourself unable to focus at all times, but in Mark Bertin’s instruction guide he reassures,
“Your mind will wander, so without frustration, guide it back again as many times as you need.”
Do not feel defeated, but rather rise to the challenge as you search for moments of serenity and peace.
The purpose of finding peace in the moments of transportation throughout our lives. Slowing down the ticking time just a little to see what the world we all live in actually has to offer. Find your place in it, or even just relax for a moment. However you choose to take a mindful walk, fit it to your personal needs because it is a personal journey you’re on in life and your peace and moments are all your own.
With each mindful walk, share a snip-it of the sounds you heard, a quote you think encapsulates your experience, a photo of something that caught your attention, or any other content you think describes your mindful moments. Tag us in your post and explore what pockets of peace others found on their mindful walking journeys.
Check out this mindfulness Spotify playlist: Here
Learn more about Mark Bertin's instructions to mindfulness: Here