Friday, April 3, 2020

One Cure in the Time of COVID-19: Walking

In spite of the fact I still watch Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson crushing it in the gym, I haven't been able to lift a weight, pull a stretch band or even swing a golf club (or putter). I am still struggling to find a routine to each day. Every self-help guru, every happiness expert, even my virtual pastor has suggested that creating a schedule is essential. However, not all is lost. After reading for 30 minutes in the morning, I put on my sweats and sneakers and I head out the door for my morning walk.
Pope Francis walks the nearly deserted streets of Rome in late afternoon on March 15
Sometimes I walk with with a friend. I've got the socially distant requirement down. We maintain a gap of six feet, walk single file when necessary and journey together. Other times, a friend will call to talk and walk. We plug in our headphones, and I have suddenly and virtually taken this person on the road with me. It is spring and I love being outside. The company I keep is as restorative and  refreshing as the steps I take. I continue to listen to my favorite podcasts and I have found new ones. Although I'm a visual learner, my auditory processing is gaining ground! Every once in a while, I simply walk in silence. This becomes a moving meditation—I walk and I pray. It might possibly be the most important part of my day.

Mother Teresa has said "the fruit of silence is prayer." And there is no greater time than the present for prayer. We need it; the world beckons. If you are like me, you might take more than one walk a day. Let one of those be your prayer. 
In the article "The Walking Cure" Michael Rossmann, SJ states "walking has a surprising number of parallels with the spiritual life." His words remind me that though walking might feel like one of the few options for exercise available to us right now, it offers gifts—spiritual ones—worth considering.

He adds, "I
’m far more open to pleasant surprises and simple beauties while walking and am able to change my plans completely." Just this morning, I took delight in the Pine Street garden—an urban collection of succulents and plants that hang from a chain link fence on a busy San Francisco street. I have driven by it no less than 1,000 times. By walking, I stood before but a few of Ireland's 40 shades of green up close and personal.

I have always been grateful for the gift of walking. I was able to accept that I could no longer run because walking is a viable and worthy option. I also know that there are people everywhere for whom walking isn't. 
During these times when it is easy to recognize and remember what we cannot do and where we cannot go, let us give thanks for what we can. As the world awaits for a cure for COVID-19, let the walking cure heal our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.

I encourage you to read Rossmann's editorial. You can find The Walking Cure here 

Photo Credits
Pope Francis walking prayer

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