I love to walk. Walking brings me out of my head and into my body and just a few minutes of walking with myself can completely change the way I am thinking and feeling. If I am feeling stuck, moving my body shifts the energy I was stuck in, and problems that seemed insurmountable are no longer so big…in fact, often the answer becomes clear…
When we are in need of a break, we often think we have to sit and rest, because we feel so tired.
But sitting is not the only way of taking a break; sometimes our body just needs to move.
Our bodies are designed to move. We work hard, but in Medicine a lot of that work can be sedentary, with our bodies sitting in fixed positions for considerable periods of time. We can also absorb the emotions and energy of the people we work with who may be sick, suffering, and miserable, as many of our patients are, and if we keep piling on more and more work without taking a break, our own reaction to the emotional state of others can build up until it spills up and over and out onto the next unsuspecting person who walks in the door!
It can feel great to take our body for a walk. Even 10-15 minutes can make an enormous difference to how we feel, and if we walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunchtime, and 10 minutes after work, that is our recommended 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise right there! No effort at all, and a chance to be with ourselves, or to come back to ourselves if we have become a bit lost in the energy that has come at us through the day.
Walking brings us out of our work spaces and into the world. We can be in nature, with the sky, trees, flowers, birds, and with people who don’t need us right now. It can help us regain our perspective on life, seeing that there is more to life than what happens in our offices and surgeries and hospitals, and that we live in a whole world, of which we are an integral part.
The way we walk is what really matters though.
The purpose of this walking is not to lose weight, get fit, tick boxes or anything but to reconnect with ourselves and our bodies and to move with them, rather than fighting them, overriding them, ignoring them, and all the other things we have been trained to do.
If we walk with awareness, feeling ourselves in our bodies from the top of our heads to the tips of our fingers and toes, our cells come alive and we can become very connected with ourselves as we move. This can help us feel if there is anything going on inside us that is unresolved and needs our attention, or it can just help us feel how lovely we are.
Walking in this gentle awareness, feeling at one with ourselves, can help us to feel at one with nature and the people around us too, so that we don’t feel so isolated, so alone, so separate from people and life.
Walking with awareness, with our mind focusing on what our body is doing, rather than running away with us as it so often does, can help us to appreciate this beautiful body we have been given to care for in this life, no matter what size, shape or condition it is in. And this appreciation can help us to care for our body more dearly, and then bring this appreciation and care to all the other bodies we care for too!
This article was first published on 08 September 2017 on To Medicine with Love