March 16, 2016

The Gift of Walking.


I am forever obsessing over my life, family and career.

Sound familiar?

This endless chatter is exhausting, which causes stress and anxiety. I have found several mindfulness practices that help me to take a step back and get out of this trance of business.

Walking is one such practice and here is how it works for me.

Once upon a time I was living in a place where there were few spare rooms. The only available options were grimy, dusty and strewn with trash. To compensate for the dingy space, I would walk around the terrace amongst the greens of the flower pots. Making my rounds from one pot to the other, I hungered for the dark lush greens of the trees.

This walking practice kept me sustained month after month.

Fast forward to present day. My house is nestled in a peaceful neighborhood. Whenever I have time, I walk around this neighborhood.

As I put one foot in front of the other, I feel my muscles loosen. The tight knitted lower back muscle is the first to tingle and dance; the fun slowly journeys toward my upper back and caresses across my shoulders. The bodily tightness of the day spent hunched over the computer screen fencing one email after the other melts away. I feel lighter with every step.

As I walk, I begin to notice things outside of myself: a half-eaten green apple on the pavement; the kids on the lawn playing soccer; two women gossiping loudly on the side street; and the voice of my father saying how much he loves coming here.

I watch the different lives play out. I envisage my dad in my mind and notice the new lines of age across his face. I picture my strong mother, walking silently beside me. I picture my daughter strapped to my chest; with each step I tell her about the trees, the birds, and the sky.

When walking I see the trees: naked and vulnerable. The strong, warped and tangible branches allow light to stream through beautifully on the grass below. The long and sweeping manner of the willow tree arches humbly towards the ground. I notice how the sound changes when I walk across the gravel road on the loose stones. I feel the wind, chilling and pleasant.

I appreciate the design of houses. I see an old woman talking loudly on her cell phone. I see parents coming to collect their three children from an old lady’s backyard. I see the cars passing by and families on their way home; individuals on their way to their families; and sometimes individuals on their way to solitude.

My practise allows me to observe life as the world unfolds around me. I am no longer the centre of my universe and I see my life as one of the many lives being lived in this world.

As my focus shifts from self to all, my worries and pains drain away. Everything and everyone seems exactly how and where they should be. I feel centered and balanced.

Thanks to walking, I come back home renewed and ready for another day.



Author: Presha Rajbhandari 

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Scholastica

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Presha Rajbhandari