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I was walking with my daughter recently when she pointed out a shape in my neighbor's trees neither of us had noticed before. I had been walking and impatiently texting my husband, asking when he was getting home so he could “take over,” because I had run out of steam for my daughter’s limitless energy.
When I have “hit my limit” as we say in our house, I can be impatient and not a very good role model. I don’t like it when I am that way, but unfortunately it happens. This time, she saved me from my own impatience. She noticed something and it made me stop and really look around instead of rushing to finish the walk.
This is the core of mindful movement: being present. Rather than listening to music or worrying about whether I should be doing something else, I began to walk and observe. And you know what? I remembered something from my childhood that I hadn’t thought of in years.
I grew up in an old white house behind the school where my mom taught third grade. I loved skating through the kitchen; the foundation was so bad, I could really pick up speed on the sloped floors. That was about the only thing I really liked about living there…that and the fact that being behind the school meant being behind the playground, which was awesome!
I remember when they brought in new gravel to go under the swings. They stayed in two huge piles for almost the whole summer. I used to climb those hills until I was covered head to toe in white dust. I always liked the sound the gravel made under my feet. Crunch, crunch, crunch. When you’re walking, every surface has a different sound. Clop, clop, clop.
When was the last time you were so aware of what you were doing you heard the sounds on the ground beneath your feet? If you're not in the moment, you might be missing all the good stuff. Go find your favorite surface, and listen.
It will be the best walk you take all week.
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