A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Walk this way - in the moment

This is a re-post: text and photo from April 2012

My "Flower Power" bracelet
Having recognized that I have an eating disorder, I have done lots of work on my issues and have now been symptom-free for a little over 4 months - no bingeing, purging, or restricting. One of the things that has made a difference for me is having goals and rewards. When setting goals they say you should have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward-based, and Timed. So I have set weekly goals and my reward has been Pandora charms for my charm bracelet - something that I am VERY motivated to achieve.
This past week my goal was to go for a walk every day. I am having trouble with my left knee, and with physio the pain had decreased, and so the physio told me to start walking, and do squats and side-lying leg raises. Our family was away for a week's vacation at our time-share so it was a good time to make some charges in my habits without all the stress of school, household chores, etc. The goal was to go outside for a walk every day (Specific), didn't matter how long or how fast, just go for a walk (Measurable), which seemed pretty realistic (Attainable) since I had two ten-year-olds who don't like to sit still for very long, and at the end of one week (Timed) I would get a charm (Reward-based).

The Pandora charm that I chose is called "Wildflower Walk" (second from the right in the photo). A wildflower walk to me signifies a walk that is not a power walk, or even a brisk walk, just a walk through the wildflowers. Of course given that it was the end of March, there were no wildflowers through which to walk, but still lots to see.  

I wanted to think of walking as a meditative process. No measuring of heart rates or speed or distance. To just be present and mindful of my surroundings, and as was the case last week, to also be present and mindful of those I was with, usually my twins.

In her book The Artist's Way, and the books following that, Julia Cameron suggests walking as one of her basic tools in her spiritual path of creativity. She says, "Walking, the simplest of tools, is among the most profound," and that when we walk, "we experience 'conscious contact' with a power greater than ourselves."

Well, we walked the path along the water's edge, with the kids stopping to throw rocks onto the thin sheets of ice on the lake, pick up sticks, or climb some rocks. We walked into town to the convenience store and the post office.  We walked to the tennis court so the kids could bat some balls around. We walked some roads just to see where they went. Sometimes the kids rode their scooters, sometimes they ran ahead, sometimes we walked hand-in-hand. But every day we got out and walked.

Cameron suggests that when walking, "Almost without noticing it, we become engaged with a world larger than ourselves and our concerns." Well, we noticed the temperature. We noticed the wind. We noticed the birds that had returned. We noticed the sound of the wind in the tall pine trees.  We noticed the way the rain had carved out the sand at the beach. The walking was, as Cameron describes it, "an exercise in heightened and intensified spiritual listening."

Now that I am back in the city there will not be many fields of wildflowers - although we do get quite a collection of weeds in our garden. But the crocuses are poking out their brave heads, and the daffodils are inching their way up. So my daily walks will allow me to observe the not-so-wild flowers of my neighbours' gardens. Somehow going for a daily "wildflower walk" - as I will continue to call them - is so much more appealing than just "going for a walk." Maybe that is what Cameron means when she says we walk to "shift" our consciousness.

Cameron promises that, "As casual as a walk may seem, profound wisdom can be its byproduct." Spiritual seekers have always walked - whether pilgrimages, walkabouts, or vision quests. St. Augustine said, "It is solved by walking." Whatever "it" is, I will continue my "wildflower walk" to help mend the mind/body split and get out of my head and into my body. And maybe fix-up my knee and get ready for tennis.

Updated: these links will take you to the Facebook photo albums of flowers I took on my Wildflower Walks 2012 and Wildflower Walks 2013

Related Posts:

Finding motivation and building habits - a story about how the Wildflower Walks turned into finding a new passion in photographing flowers and discovering a significant new affirmation - and the charm that represents it

Winter Wonderland - a story about how my "Wildflower Walks" turned into "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and how that helped me Beat the Winter Blues - and the charm that represents it.

Can you see what's there? It's a wonderland - a story about how looking around you and seeing beauty can help in the recovery from food issues, as well as healing personally and spiritually; I've also included a short piece about my mother's battle with Alzheimer's - and the charm that represents it.


  1. I truly enjoyed reading your stories and seeing photos of your bracelets and the meaning behind each one that you have created!


    1. Janet, thank you so much! You are the first person to comment on my blog and it is greatly appreciated!