Elaine Garmon, MS, BCC
"Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something. That perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wilderness meant I too could be undesecrated, regardless of the regrettable things I'd done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I'd been skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.”
There is a very powerful reason behind the success of the emotionally honest and gripping memoir “Wild,” written by Sheryl Strayed. It is an unflinching tale of a woman grappling with loss so deep and painful that the only way she could begin to find her way back to herself was to solo hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
I believe this book resonated with so many people because, deep down, everyone can identify with that need. The need to physically put one foot in front of the other, to feel your body through movement, to encounter your pain, both physical and emotional and soothe the frantic ramblings of your mind with one step after another.
Whether you are running, hiking, or walking, the act of forward movement in nature has unparalleled, magical, and transformative properties. Yes, the combination of undesecrated nature and physical exercise is profound, no doubt. The good news is that we don’t have to hike a thousand miles or embed ourselves so deep in nature that we fear for our own survival. What do we have to do? Just walk.
Get out and move lest you wither into the couch with your feet tucked up underneath you and your body folded inward. Complaining about all the things that are not working in your life but never taking action towards changing. Consider your walk as stepping into your own sense of power. Walk to strengthen yourself. Walk to quiet your chattering mind and open to the space of creative gold – the magic place within you that is just out of reach but you can feel it sitting there waiting to be acknowledged. Walk towards it. Call upon it. Get up. Get off the couch. Walk your self-pity away. Walk your “it’s not fair this is happening to me” away. Walk to test yourself. Walk to feel your body. To feel your tired legs and the soreness of your muscles telling you that you are ALIVE, and lucky to be so.
Walk because we humans are tied to our physical bodies, so much so that taking movement out of processing our thoughts and emotions is like expecting to get a designer haircut from someone who is blind and using plastic scissors (no disrespect to the visually impaired intended). It’s like diving to search for treasure deep in the ocean without the necessary scuba gear. We can only go so deep before we must retreat frantically to the surface, swimming upward for air and leaving our brief glimpses of treasure below.
Why do we think is okay to sit and stew and expect answers and insights to just come? Our answers, inspirations, and insights need oxygen to become realized. But that is just my personal opinion (which happens to be backed by a lot of science). If you are feeling stuck, unsure, confused, or frustrated, the best thing you can do for yourself is to walk. Walk with yourself. Walk with a friend. Walk with me. Whatever you do……..JUST WALK. www.walkingyourtalk.org