Some people ask me, “So then what? What good are these walks if you aren’t planning to DO something about what you observe?”
The beginning of each walk includes a reminder that we only have three things to do: breathe, walk, and observe.
Yes, that’s it, because there’s a trick to mindfulness walking–and that’s letting go of having to walk with a specific expectation of what you’ll do or know at the end.
Mindfulness walks are a breeding ground for insight when walkers let go of expectations and simply focus on the present moment, letting the environment flow through them as they breathe, walk, and observe.
Brain research reveals that you can “train your brain for insight,” (Google it!) and the mindfulness walk experience has all the necessary elements!
However, not having expectations doesn’t mean that nothing comes from mindfully walking your city. In fact, it’s just the opposite!
At the end of each week’s walk, we come together for a few minutes of conversation, and this is what I’ve heard:
- Walkers describe new things they learn about Fresno.
- Walkers describe how interactions with people from different walks of life will inform their actions and attitudes in the future.
- Walkers describe colors, shapes, smells, and sounds that intrigue or inspire them.
- Walkers describe insights into personal situations – maybe even a seemingly obvious solution – that had previously eluded them.
- Walkers describe the benefits of seeing neighborhoods on foot and up close.
- Walkers describe experiencing mental calmness and clarity and how it prepares them for the hectic week ahead.
- Walkers describe the healing nature of a shared unspoken experience.
- Walkers describe how walking 4 miles affects their muscles, breathing, and overall fitness.
- Walkers describe what they will do or how they will communicate to others about what they observed.
- And the list goes on…
Over the last three years, more than 400 individuals have joined me on one walk or many – for 118 walks, about 4 miles each. The benefits to individual walkers and to Fresno are beyond quantification.
I don’t want to limit the possibilities by imposing anything on anyone.
Just breathe, walk, and observe. What you do with the experience is up to you.
Lucky leader of the tribe of Fresno Mindfulness WalkersThis entry was posted in Uncategorized
2 thoughts on “Breathe, walk, observe…. And then what?”
Seeing other parts of your community is vital to understanding other parts of your community. We do not all live the same way, even though we live in the same town.
Two to three times a week, I drive south and west, through neighborhoods, on streets, into an area that most people in north Fresno and Clovis do not even know exists. When I tell them where I go, they always ask, “where is that?” In describing the location, few can make the connection.
But I make the connection with the people who are on these streets, in these neighborhoods, trying to live their life in Fresno as I try to live mine. I can better understand where others are coming from and what they are dealing with when I make my way to other parts of Fresno. You are offering these opportunities each week in your mindfulness walks. It is a good thing for all of us.
DK, thanks for sharing this! I enjoy following you and FB and seeing all that you do for the kids of Fresno Unified! Thank you!