When you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
I love to walk. I say, “Why ride when you can walk?” I live in a walkable neighborhood. The post office is two miles, the drugstore is one mile, and the park with a walking trail is about one mile. I don’t walk to get in 10,000 steps; though, that is a worthy effort. I am not training for anything nor am I walking for a cause (Though my sister does have an ALS team, Marc’s Muscle, because her son died from the disease. She lives in Detroit and I in Houston; otherwise I would walk for her cause.) I just love to walk because that is when I listen for God’s voice and feel God talking to me in the photos I take.
Typically, I walk alone. I don’t mind the occasional walking partner, but I had to stop walking with a woman because it became a therapy session for her. Once she learned I am a counselor, she began asking me about some of her family situations and was happy at the “free therapy” she received. Oh no, I said to myself. This is my quiet time, not a counseling session. I politely uninvited myself the next time she wanted to walk together.
Walking is a spiritual discipline for me. I need that time outside to renew my soul. I tried walking in the mall when the heat was too much this summer. I became distracted and began to enter the stores and eventually started shopping! I had to stop walking in the mall. It was defeating my purpose of walking to connect with my feelings and nature.
When I walk I take pictures with my phone. Not trying to be Ansel Adams, the iconic black-and-white photographer, but I am trying to capture what my eye sees on my walk. I feel contentment and joy when I stroll along the bayou (notice I said stroll because I am not walking at a fast pace—you’d really get bored walking with me!). I notice the wildflowers, the bare trees, and any little item that catches my attention.
The point of my walks is that there is no point. I am practicing my meditation. I am in the moment. If a bird flies overhead and lands nearby, I notice it and stop for a moment to enjoy her before I continue my stroll.
I may pray or often I can be heard talking to myself, so why do I need a walking partner? When I don’t have an opportunity to walk, I notice I am more easily irritated, agitated, and even depressed. Just a ten-minute walk elevates my mood and allows me to get more work done. Sometimes a brief walk is all that is standing between “calm me” and “losing-it me.”
Why do I walk? I walk to feed my spirit. I walk to listen for God. I walk because if I don’t walk I feel the joyful parts of myself slipping away. If you ask me how far I walk, I will say I don’t know. At the end of my walk, my phone app tells me how many miles and steps. I don’t care. I walk this way, and then I turn around and walk back. That’s it. Easy. Calming. Joyful.
Look at ways you can bring ten minutes of joy into your day. It may not be walking. It may be sitting and watching the birds or watching the water. Allow yourself opportunities to listen for God and hear your own spirit speak to you. This is the way, walk in it!