When Gretchen Rubin, the cohost of one of my favorite podcasts HAPPIER invited her listeners to "Walk for 20 Minutes Every Day in 2020: #Walk20in20!" I accepted. I know for many people, even 20 minutes is a challenge, but for me this was nothing outside of very practical. For one, I am privy to a lot of steps: I am a city dweller, I park my car on the street. I live on the third floor in walk-up apartment building. I teach at a school that has 25 acres. I play golf. But I was intrigued by their goal of (at minimum) 20 minutes of sustained walking, everyday. I already make time to exercise everyday—which these days is mostly in the form of walking— in order to maintain both my physical and mental health. But, I wanted to improve one area of my life that always in need of more time, and more attention—my spiritual health. I knew this challenge could help.
For the last 10 years of my life as a runner, I ran without music. I have no idea what it would be like to run while listening to a podcast, because there weren't any when I used to run. I ran in silence and I loved it. This was my time for prayer and reflection. However, my experience as a walker is quite the opposite. I have my podcast playlist, and each one has done a great job keeping me informed on matters of sports and spirituality. I often walk talk on the phone. I occasionally text and read my email. Many voices, various platforms demand my attention. Therefore, I decided to repurpose the #Walk20in2020 to include silence. I had high hopes it would re-energize my spiritual health and deepen my prayer life. Errr.... How long does it take for us to create a new habit?
If I were on air, Gretchen would give me a demerit. I walked for 20 minutes in silence until we entered into COVID. I'm ok with the excused absence; thank you for the hall pass. But, the idea and the invitation stays with me. Perhaps Lent 2021 will call me into this space.
I will however accept a gold star for their recommendation to walk once a week with a friend. During COVID, I have met up with so many different colleagues, old friends, and new ones, I have lost count. I treasure the time I have shared whether its in person, face mask and all or through my iPhone. And how great is it that walking costs—nothing! Still, the ability and opportunity to walk doesn't go unappreciated. During the California wildfire season, it was unsafe to walk outside for nearly one week. Furthermore, I know people who live in places on the planet that have COVID restrictions so severe, they cannot leave their homes, except for essential activity. I pray for their physical, mental and spiritual health that they are able to walk again, soon.
I will add a gold star for my personal policy of walk and carry. Golfers have many options for how to handle their sticks: golf cart, push cart, remote control cart, caddy, etc. While my back prefers that I use a pushcart, my entire muscular system is digging the straps on my bag. I have not lifted a weight since mid-March, so walking and carrying my elusively heavy golf bad is what I got. Move over kettle bells...hello Ping Hoofer. Isn't it pretty?!!
I read today that the Happier podcast is challenging listeners to read for 21 minutes in 2021. No doubt that will fortify my spiritual health as well. In the meantime, I'll continue to put one foot in front of another—in silence, or however the Spirit moves me.
Walk and Carry
In Praise of Walking.