My story is that 25 years ago, I moved to Fresno for love and then, eventually, fell in love with Fresno. Fresno was not love at first sight, and it took me about 10 years until I woke up one day and made a conscious decision to love the place I live. That mind shift made all the difference.
This new mindset eventually led me to start Fresno Mindfulness Walks. On Memorial Day weekend 2014, I woke up on a Saturday morning and walked 4 miles through an unfamiliar neighborhood — yes, a seemingly regular, often invisible to most, Fresno neighborhood. I walked with two friends, and we did not talk. Later we discussed the experience, and we agreed that we ‘saw’ Fresno in a new way. I felt connected to the people who lived in that neighborhood, and I saw their lives through the cars in the driveways, through the toys in the front yard, and through a mop leaning up against a porch. At the same time, I experienced relief from anxiety and mental busyness by focusing on what was right in front of me instead of re-hashing the past or stressing about the future. And without even noticing it, I got a little exercise.
After almost 5 years, I’ve walked 171 different routes, about 684 miles of Fresno streets, alleys, dirt paths, canal banks, school yards, parks, and river banks. – from Copper River Country Club to Calwa, and from West Victoria Park to the Fresno airport. Hundreds of walkers (I’ve lost count) have joined me on one walk or many walks. And I’ve shared the photos and written descriptions on the FMW Facebook page and on the website, www.fresnomindfulnesswalks.org — creating, what I like to call, the human view map of Fresno.
It never fails, every walk is an adventure. Walkers describe seeing Fresno in new ways and are amazed at the places we see and the people we meet.
I look forward to our next walk together!
Lucky leader to the tribe of Fresno mindfulness walkers
Lori’s quick bio:
“Regular people taking creative action”
Lori Clanton is a self-proclaimed free-range social entrepreneur, and she engages with her community in ways that need no money and no permission. As founder of Fresno Mindfulness Walks, she believes that the power to transform a city resides in regular people taking creative action, and it starts with making the invisible visible. Her experience with community philanthropy gives her a unique understanding of the San Joaquin Valley. Having survived crime, cancer, and exclusion, Lori chooses to value every day and draw the circle wide. Lori has traveled extensively, including twice to China to adopt her two daughters. She has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.B.A. from Fresno State.