I Did Walk 500 Miles

The 12th week of the 2015 Women Out Walking program just ended and the final walk is this Sunday at the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate.

I had so much fun participating this year, and it inspired me to get out and walk on some cold, gloomy days. In the past 12 weeks I walked over 500 miles, and my step record for a single day was 30,137.

It was great to lead a walk for the public. My favorite part of this was being part of such a great community activity. I definitely plan to do it again in 2016, and I hope more of you will join me.

Logging my steps and seeing how much activity I actually did in a day was what gave me the courage to take a leap and add weights and running back into my routine. Seeing those number proved to me that I wasn’t the frail person I had been treating myself as.

It just goes to show what can happen when you try something new. Thanks, W.O.W!

Women Out Walking

Isn’t is amazing how much of a difference a weather change can make? Sure, my sinuses have gone bonkers, but otherwise I feel like I’ve woken up from a deep sleep. I guess it’s easy for me to get so caught up in just getting through the winter, I forget how good I can feel when I get enough fresh air.

Speaking of fresh air, I am participating in Evanston’s Women Out Walking┬áprogram this year. I’ll be a satellite member of the Heartwood team, but I plan to organize a big group walk that is open to all W.O.W participants (more info later). Additionally, I’ll be helping to woman Heartwood’s table at the kick-off event on March 21st. There are going to be weekly classes at Heartwood Center for participants as well. This is a fantastic way to have an adventure on a budget.

It’s only $5.00 to register, let’s welcome spring with fresh air and exercise!

Pausing for Pictures

I have a couple of posts planned to talk about how massage and mindfulness practice complement and enhance one another in the works, but for now I want to write about another area of my life where I have found a similar connection: photography.

The act of pausing to take a photo feels very similar to the act of pausing to investigate my emotional landscape. Both encourage me to fully inhabit the present moment and feel what it’s like to be in my body right then and there.

As an amateur photographer, mindfulness practice keeps my mind from wandering as I take in the natural beauty all around me. My mind is calm and untroubled while I frame my subject, and I am aware of any emotions I am feeling about the subject. It strengthens my patience as I wait for the right shot (especially helpful when I am trying to capture the movement of the waves), and enables me to appreciate the shot and then move on to next.

As a mindfulness practitioner, photography builds pauses into my walks; pauses which give me an opportunity to check back in and refocus if necessary. Adding photography into my walks has helped me regain a certain freshness in my perspective of the world around me. I have regained the ability to view parts of the world around me with a child-like wonder that strengthens the curiosity and friendliness to myself that is such an important part of mindfulness.

The sense I have of the interconnected nature of the ways my life is evolving on this journey of mine. It is an empowering realization.

Just for Fun

This city's for the (wild) birds.
This city’s for the (wild) birds.

I was hiking around the Montrose bird sanctuary this morning when I saw these birdhouses I haven’t noticed before. This mindful walking stuff is great! Bonus: unlike yesterday, I did not freeze my phone today.