Relax by Walking

In order for me to feel completely relaxed I need a whole day to be able to sleep in and decompress, but guess how often I get that? Almost never.

I need to relax, but I don’t have days at a time to nurture myself. I need to relax quickly. How American of me! That is my Holy Grail: something that gets me into a relaxed state in a snap.

Valeria talked about relaxing and focusing in terms of brainstorming. Of course, relaxing and focusing are the first steps of meditating. I’ve tried meditation over and over again and I want it to work because it seems like it would work for me, whatever that means. But it never has. And all of that women’s magazine advice to take cleansing breaths, center yourself, etc., are just modified forms of meditating. But like I said, meditation and I don’t mix.

So while I was busy failing at meditating, I discovered walking outside. It’s such a cop out form of exercise in some ways, and yet it’s what I end up doing. The only thing that really relaxes me in an hour or less is to walk outside. It can be a walk in the city, but it helps if it’s somewhere in nature.

It’s something about getting outside of ourselves and paying attention to Life with a capital L. If you go out on the street and see other people talking and going about their business, it gets you out of your own head and pulls you back into living. I say living because I think going around and around in our own minds is not living, it is what we do when we are avoiding living.

If you are in nature, looking at a beautiful fern unfurled in the shade of a tree reminds you that there is something larger than you and your problems. Nature is a way to connect to beauty. Taking pleasure in beauty is a primal thing. If we can get to our primal selves, we can relax, because it’s not the primal us that is having a problem relaxing. Cavewoman Jenny hunts, eats, and sleeps and that’s about it. She isn’t worrying about what earrings look good with that outfit. So walking in nature connects me to my primal self and that self can relax. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but walking seems to do it for me. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. How do you relax?

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