Friday, April 28, 2017

Journaling: X = eXercise

I've mentioned Julia Cameron before with regards to Morning Pages. Another routine she is adamant to maintain is the weekly walk

This is not the cardiovascular exercise walk to increase heart rate, but rather a long, slow meander to increase mental observation and emotional well-being.

When I go for these kinds of walks, I try to clear my head before heading out the door. I want the walk to inform my thoughts, not the other way around. I don’t set out with a pre-determined question I need to answer, or problem I need to resolve. Rather, I allow my mind to be free from life’s distractions so I can enjoy the peace and beauty of God’s creation.

As you take a nature walk, try these suggestions:
  • Intentionally slow your pace and shorten your gait. 
  • Pay attention to the ground: is it soft and smooth, gravelly and hard? 
  • Notice the grass, the dirt, the creepy crawlies. 
  • Look at the sky and watch the birds flit about, the leaves dance in the wind, the clouds float by. 
  • Focus on colors - not generic colors such as green and blue - but specific colors like indigo or pine. 
  • Strain to hear the soft hum of the bees around the flowers or the squirrels scampering up trees.
Nature walks definitely influence my writing. Sometimes I return with an insight into a problem I've mulled over for days. Other times I return with a new creative idea I want to investigate. 

At the very least, I come home with a sense of wonder and renewal. Perhaps that will happen for you as well.

* * *
Of course, I prefer to take these leisurely strolls through a local park or arboretum, but the same benefits can be achieved by ambling through my neighborhood. Walking slowly, mindfully, and observing often ignored details is what matters most... not the specific location.

The next post in this Journaling series: Y is for Yearly Word





18 comments:

  1. Ah yes! Walking is one of the best ways I've found for problem solving and brainstorming while writing. If I can't figure out where to go next, I put my earbuds in and take off at a fast clip, then when I come home, the words just flow out like crazy. (I sometimes go on slow walks where I pay attention to nature, too.)

    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge. See my "X" post here: https://lydiahowe.com/2017/04/28/x-is-for-xerxes-atozchallenge/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also enjoy pairing a brisk walk with my favorite playlist. It's so invigorating, which I think helps with creative thought.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I don't take many slow nature walks, I'm usually go, go, go, get stuff done, hurry up, so this is good advice! Happy Friday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes... I must confess, my autopilot is "go go go" ... I have to really purpose to walk slow. But... my mental health is always grateful :)

      Delete
  3. We go on weekly hikes but the are not as meditative as what you describe although certainly there are moments. I spend so much time inside at the keyboard that I love any opportunity to reconnect with nature. It's incredibly important.WeekendsInMaine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not yet progressed to "hikes" but I think I might like it (if I could be guaranteed not to cross paths with a snake!)

      Delete
  4. these are great points. I actually feel like going on a walk now :)

    <a href="http://www.pixelatedtales.com/“>Yogasana</a>

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) ... as I was writing the post, I felt the same way.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. I walk my neighborhood often, but since it isn't in a circle I have to backtrack to get home again. So I usually do the excerise walk to the end of the neighborhood and then the slow "what's going on in the neighborhood" on the return. Girl Who Reads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like this idea - combining the cardiovascular workout one way and the more contemplate stroll on the return. I think I will try that myself :)

      Delete
  6. Hubby and I try to go for one of these walks each week. Sometimes I find a place to sit and sketch while he wanders with the camera. Sometimes we walk in silence each observing on our own. Other times we point out the details we are seeing, like today as I found the first mosquito of the year. I also like to take a slow walk around my garden each day of the growing season to notice the details and watch it change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love ALL of this!!

      I've always resisted the idea of having a garden (I'm not fond of the creepy crawlies) ... but I do think I would enjoy watching nature bloom, grow, and then return to the soil again. Perhaps I will start with an herb garden first (baby steps...)

      Delete
  7. I love a good walk. But I add a camera. It helps you think in a slow, soak-in-the-details way (and you get the added bonus of pictures you can post your blog).

    As for the garden, maybe you could do one inside, where there are no creepy crawlies? You could definitely grow herbs inside. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE walking with a camera! You are right... I discover details that I would otherwise miss with the naked eye.

      I plan to start this garden experience with a baby step - and indoor herbs sounds perfect :)

      Delete
  8. Oh, I love taking a walk. The good endorphins, and the serenity and peace of nature. Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. My leisurely walks often include a search for blossoming flowers for my photo collection, which inspires me to write new poetry. Your posts always give me new ideas, also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to walk with my camera in hand! And while I don't write poetry, I do enjoy finding photos that remind me of a favorite song lyric :)

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails