A Walk In The Park
30 day journal challenge - day 1
I live in southwest Portland Oregon. Outside the city proper but not quite the suburbs. One of the things I really love about where I live is how numerous and readily accessible all the parks are around my home. Add that to my love of Fall and Today being a rare treat in October - warm and sunny. So I went for a causal walk.
I have a bit of a routine when I do my walks. Typically I'll bring my normal things like my headphones just in case I decide to listen to some music or an audio book. However, for the past six months while I still drag along my usual tech I discover I have a far more enjoyable walk and feel more refreshed if I opt out of actually listening to my headphones or even checking my email on my phone. What I've discovered is a type of mindful meditative experience where I just focus on my breathing. I know this probably sounds kinda bizarre to some people. Yet if I just focus on my breath and guide my thoughts away from the buzz going on around my head I end my walk feeling balanced, creative and at ease.
There's a phrase in many zen teachings that refers to our busy brains as "the monkey mind". The idea here that we're always mentally bouncing around like a toddler hopped up on candy. I find a strange reassurance that I'm not an original species when it comes to this constant cerebral chatter. I need that inner silence and the more I have it the more I crave it.
Better put the more often I quiet my mind the overall greater my daily calm increases. Sure there's always going to be a new things to stress about or strive for but it's these walks in the park that give me a warm fuzzy relaxation about life.
Life's to short to be angry, anxious or apathetic. I don't want to numb my feelings or overindulge I want to be objective about them. Recognize my feelings like I can recognize a limb and see if it needs attention.
Today while I was walking along I was reminded that nature never stops and when you go even on zen walks you'll encounter people doing all sorts of things. Running, talking to a friend, cycling, walking their dog, playing Pokémon Go, or taking their toddler for a stroll. Most people I encounter aren't even looking for a smile or a friendly hello they're just in their on zone doing their business. It's really no judgement to people being in there own heads about the stuff they do. It was just another pleasant opportunity for me to let go of all the buzzing about inside my brain. There's no perfect way to capture each thought or breath, at least I haven't found it. Yet when I start a walk giving my greatest attention to breathing slowly in through my nose then slowly exhaling out my mouth, sometimes counting to begin to slow my thoughts down, I finish my walks with a profound clarity. So while I'm dedicating these next thirty days to public journal entries I think it's an excellent place to start with some quiet meditation. Thank you so much for being apart of my journey and I'm looking forward to all that we'll encounter ahead.