When’s the last time you went on a slow nature walk, where you weren’t pressed to rush back home, meet anyone or do anything else right after? Nature walks can be so therapeutic; nourishing to the soul and our state of mind before during and after.
You don’t need to save up to do it, and the benefits outweigh the small effort it takes to put on a pair or sandals or trainers. Stress is a real thing and the ‘heat’ is going to turn up in the days to come, so being proactive about our health, endurance and state of mind is essential.
Getting fresh air and stretching your legs in beautiful places made by the most High is a way of refreshing your walk and mindset. It’s different from the exhilaration of a brisk walk, jog or run and can help us better pace our thoughts, calm any nerves and gain a heightened sense of clarity. So many things in the world are contrived to get and harness our energy and attention so being conscious about knowing who you are (minus the crowd), what you believe and know to be true – away from the noise of everything else is important and will become more valuable in the days to come. Moments of reflection without outside distraction are healthy. Being honest about our unhealthy habits and conscious about setting and getting in rhythm with good ones that don’t require a charger or electricity is a challenge, but it’s also an invitation.
There are benefits to intense hikes that make you work up a sweat and lead through tree-hugged trails, but today we’re highlighting peaceful strolls. The ones where you walk upright, breathe deeply, stand under canopies formed by trees 🌳…observe intricate leaf patterns or listen to birds and any other nearby animals, noticing all those things that passers by are passing by.
a walk in creation
birdsongs all around
planes, trains and cars in the distance…yet I focus on the sound
of joy rising to the surface
and reminders of life’s purpose
with every breath and each step, the more thankful I get
I went on so many outdoor adventures…walks in creation I couldn’t even begin to count and most times don’t take a purse or phone.
Growing up on The Caribbean, walking across pastures barefoot or in slippers, trodding along trails and manoeuvring through bushes and getting primplers stuck in your clothes, toes or fingers all because you and friends went to pick dunks, peas, sea grapes, fat porks (a fruit) or whatever else was in season was more a natural part of life than an event to prep for.
Spending time in and amidst nature, whether it’s walking on the sand, swimming in the sea, going for country drives, daily walks, hikes, flower-picking expeditions or being in snowy places if that’s your thing is ideal for filtering out the noise and constant messaging of the world, noticing things we would’ve otherwise missed, gaining perspective and tuning into the magnificent handiwork that is creation – an amazingly gracious gift for us.
Nature walks (apparently) aren’t fun and enjoyable for everybody. Some find them downright boring and are uncomfortable with natural, non-digital sounds paired with pockets of purposeful silence followed by the repetitious movement of placing one foot in front of the other. Being uncomfortable or afraid of quiet time with or without somebody else is a clue to something deeper…something stirring yet unresolved…that could probably deal with attention rather than deflection. Do you find yourself always watching or listening to something that needs to be plugged in, even if you’re not in the room or even actively listening. I’m no counsellor but know that means something. One thing’s for sure is it doesn’t mean nothing. Even if you’re watching something in particular and ads are included, emotions are still being pushed and pulled in different directions with all kinds of frequencies, tones, strategically chosen and positioned words…all to get the currency that is attention…energy.
Now I’m in a new setting still enjoying beautiful views (different from the ones in ‘Bim’) along regular walks. It’s so refreshing. Yes, it’s nice to get some physical movement in, but more and more, the therapeutic beauty walking in creation is the real blessing.
Just like being by the sea side is healthy and recommended for many in recovery, so too are nature walks to anyone who wants to purposefully slow down…and refill in order to pour out from a more peaceful place. You’ll be strengthening your immune system, building your metabolism, fine-tuning your hearing and hopefully getting a break from the phone or other attention-grabbing digital devices. If you use your phone a lot in general, the upright walk will help reset those neck muscles and alleviate any eye strain.
It’s hard – not impossible, but tough to be or stay in a bad mood during or after a light walk. The fresh clean air, deep breaths, regulated heartbeat, sweet scenery and physical therapy of walking are all up-front highlights that can only be enhanced by any other beautiful surprises and precious moments that you either encounter or experience along the way. Walking up inclines and over or around stones, pebbles and mounds is a lil foot exercise too and if you work up a sweat that’s an added detox.
A grateful state makes a big difference for the better (I’m not an expert on this; just saying.) Not everyone appreciates the outdoors, birdsongs, dancing blades of grass, flowering fields, passing deer, the motion of walking, an intentional break from a phone…or even quiet time. But if you do, have an idea of when or where next you’ll venture to? It could be an easy 30-minute stroll on the greener side of your neighbourhood, a drive to then browse around a public garden/lake/park/woods or a well-paced long walk with breaks to take in the beautiful views waiting for you along the way. Obviously, remember safety and please don’t go venturing anywhere so when its dark or will be soon. True, things can happen in the day same way but night tends to bring out more darkness and those of it. Ask for wisdom and walk to suit.
Now that research has documented and “proven” the benefits of what’s been lived and known for generations, nature walks are getting some props instead of being looked at as a habit of wanderers. But whether outdoor adventures are new for you or something you’ve grown used to, I hope they’re refreshing with plenty inspiration and time for reflection.
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