Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Give us This Day Our Daily Walk...

It's been a while since I've written a "real" blog entry; I've been so busy, but I want to share something I heard recently on NPR.  On the program, there was a brilliant poet named Arandatti (not sure of the spelling), an anthropologist from Belgium, and a neurologist who studies creativity (I'm sorry I can't remember his name!) and they were having a lively and interesting discussion about different aspects of creativity and the brain and such which I thoroughly enjoyed, but at one point in the program, the neurologist got a chance to speak for one minute on how he would change the world. He said that if he could change the world, he would make taking a daily walk mandatory for everyone - and not just for the health benefits. 

It turns out that walking enhances creativity as well.  Apparently our mind/brain wanders freely when we walk, and often it takes us places and makes connections that we might not have made without the walking and it helps us think more creatively in general!  Not only is is kind of cool in itself - but oddly enough, just two days before I had made a promise to myself to do just this!  Coincidence?  I think not.  I know it was the universe talking to me and for once, I heard it loud and clearly!

Allow me to elaborate.  I live on a ranch in Central Texas.  We have some interesting winter weather here. I say interesting; in fact the winters are generally highly entertaining here - one never knows what one is going to get.  But some years seem more extreme than others. This year is one of them. 

Anyway, after several pretty wet and bone-chilling days, we had some amazingly beautiful weather last week - clear, sunny skies, temperatures in the high 70's...so I decided to take advantage of it and go for a walk, just to feel the sun on my skin.  At one point during my walk, I thought to myself, 'I live in such a gorgeous place - why don't I take a walk every day?  I must be nuts not to take advantage of these amazing surroundings more.  I need to enjoy this place - otherwise why live here?'  So I resolved to take a daily walk no matter what crazy weather we have, even if it's just for fifteen minutes. This walk would be in addition to any exercising I do, not in place of exercise, although the two can be combined. So the pace doesn't have to be fast; in fact, it can be downright slow and contemplative - whatever seems right in the moment.  

Then I heard this NPR show and it was an Oprah "AHA!" - meant to be.  

Taking a daily walk sounds like a no-brainer, right?  But here's the thing about these walks that might turn some people off.  According to the neurosurgeon, there are some parameters.  You see, you aren't allowed to take a phone or an ipod or any device with you on your walk. It's just you, your feet, and the great outdoors.  Otherwise you won't be freethinking or mind wandering or whatever he called it and you won't get the same effects. (He didn't get into whether one has to be in nature or if it works in the middle of the city, but I'm guessing it doesn't matter where, but nature is probably preferable is possible - fewer distractions...don't know for certain though.) 

Being without a device is definitely not a problem for me, as I had already decided not to take phone or music with me anyway because I didn't want to be distracted.  And - as my friends will undoubtedly point out, I'm not all that plugged in anyway - I usually can't get to my phone when someone is calling because I'm upstairs working and I've forgotten to bring my phone with me, or vice versa, or I forget to charge it...a rather hopeless case, I'm afraid. (Although I do get back to them when they leave messages, and I answer texts and emails all the time. I DO!)

To some, it might be a deal-breaker to be unplugged for any amount of time, but I'm so IN! I love anything that has so many benefits - Vitamin D, alone time, exercise and movement, enjoyment of the outdoors AND a creativity boost -  I think it's a wonderfully fabulous idea.

 I wonder if the neurosurgeon guy thought of it while he was on a walk?


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