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March 11, 2024

A Simple Method for an Extraordinary Reset.

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“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than they seek.” ~ John Muir

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With the switch to daylight savings time in the rearview mirror, I recently enjoyed the longer daylight by taking my dogs for a late afternoon walk.

I found myself reminiscing about my teenage years. Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, springtime was announced by the sound of robins singing and the clearing of shoreline ice. Summers were spent frolicking on the beach, suntanning as if it was a full-time job.

My memories took me back to a simpler, more spacious time in nature when I felt a lot less stress.

The golden late afternoon light shifting through the evergreens comforted me as I felt the still crisp air on my skin and the crunch of leftover snow beneath my boots. I considered how enjoyable and meditative I find the quiet solitude of nature.

Reflecting back, I consented that it had been a tough day. I’d spent the weekend working on my first book. Pulling together a proposal to shop the book is exciting, but it is also a lot of work. Add to the mix that I thought I had the book proposal under control but didn’t realize that I hadn’t considered two significant parts. Which meant I hadn’t really begun to scratch the surface of my upcoming self-imposed deadline. The stress in my body, mind, and spirit was palpable.

Feeling frustrated but also driven, I wanted to keep pushing forward. I knew it was futile when the cursor on my screen simply blinked at me, minute after minute.

Inspired by a recent trip to Japan, where I walked amongst the trees, rivers, and mountains, I remembered that sometimes it is better to abide like water flowing from the mountaintops to the ocean. So instead of pushing ahead, I did something counterintuitive for a Type A personality: I took a break.

I put on my hikers, rounded up my dogs, and went for an intentional walk without a destination and without an exercise goal. It was simply a modality of walking for the sake of walking as an extraordinary reset.

When we arrived at one of my favorite places to saunter, there were no other cars in the parking lot. There were only deer, moose, mountain lion tracks, and everything else that qualifies as good company in my world.

As the dogs and I strolled, step-by-step the stress melted away. When we got back to the car, it was still about an hour before dark. In theory, it was time to go, but I knew at that moment there was no way in hell I was getting in the car. Instead, I took in the feeling and freedom of nowhere to go. There was no phone, no emails, no demands, no writing, no thinking, no anything. It was just me, my breath, my dogs, and this sense of belonging within the extraordinary world that we live in.

There are two things people often cite as a reason not to get out for a walk: inclement weather and lack of time.

Having climbed and hiked in subzero temperatures as well as the summer heat of Texas, I promise that any day is a good day for a walk when we plan ahead. Warm clothes in the winter and getting out early in the morning before the oppressive summer heat can ensure comfort and success no matter the weather. Using the extra hour of sunlight from daylight savings time is a great way to make time.

I came home rejuvenated and ready for another busy week ahead.

A walk in nature is nothing short of extraordinary for resetting our body, mind, and spirit. I hope you’ll join me!

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