Walking is good for the self. You might prefer setting out to scale mountains at dawn or purposeless walking from your front door at dusk. You might roam the urban landscape or lose yourself (metaphorically, I hope) in the deepest wilderness.
The very act of walking will flood your body with endorphins and lift your mood. But there is more to it than chemistry. Through walking we find our own space: physical, emotional, and intellectual. We are exercising our autonomy. We are self-directed and self-accountable.
In my last post – Losing Landmarks – I introduced the concept of transition as a journey, and noted that frequently, a period of transition is marked by a physical as well as metaphorical journey, and the two realities co-exist.
Interestingly, when experiencing periods of transition we often find that we take the most from our journeys on foot, as our movement through the physical terrain informs the way we conceptualise our own metaphorical journey.
So it is not unusual to return from a walk and realise that you have ‘moved’ (in a metaphorical sense) or that you are no longer ‘stuck’. Your journey has given you the time and space to experience fully your current state, and your physical sense of progress and forward momentum has allowed your thinking – and your conceptual narrative – to evolve.
Exploring the physical landscape also opens up an array of new perspectives both literal and metaphorical: perspectives of proportion, tranquility, or vertiginous clarity. And, depending what you seek, may reveal challenge, connection, and greater self-knowledge.
So go, walk, and blow away the cobwebs. You might be surprised where it gets you.
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. John Muir