“Over the course of a day’s hike or in a sudden wonderstruck moment, many of us have felt the edges of our selves dissolve into the wild that surrounds us. We become unconsciously “of” our environments. Shedding the insular, constraining cages of our everyday hyperrationality—the mental chatter, the rigid expectations, and inevitable tension and failures that accompany them—identities and desires evaporate into the senses. For a time, we become raw awareness.” Source
Last weekend: Stumbled on a new place to hike, and a new summer kayaking destination.
This weekend: Challenging walk on iced trails. Hint - went off trail a lot!
Over the course of the past few weeks, I have been making a conscious effort to take more walks outside. One day, I came home from work and didn’t even change clothes. I just put warmer outerwear over my work clothes, changed my shoes and went. Our neighborhood isn’t a metropolitan city, it is a neighborhood with plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. Yards have trees and the wide open sky is always there. No towering buildings block your view.
Two sides of our neighborhood are more open. One has a bike path, and the other has a old nursery garden across the street with lots of mature trees, and even a “natural” park (ie left to grow somewhat naturally). Right smack in the middle of our neighborhood, were 40 acres of woods. Now reduced to probably 10 acres due to new houses going up, but it isn’t completely gone.
These are the areas I have been walking, mostly after work. I did get in a morning walk last weekend, and a walk at night with my husband after dinner as well. The more I walk, the more at peace I am with myself. In fact, I feel like through these walks, I am finding myself.
For the past two to three years, I’ve been working on simplifying my life on an outward level. That has actually been easy. Shedding things - furniture, misc items, clothes, jewelry - has actually been pretty hassle-free. I have even been working on my stress level - an internal “thing” that I think I have now somewhat figured out.
However, through it all, I wasn’t finding me. Instead, I was listening to others. And it has been others online. My day to day conversations with my husband, family and friends, was nothing like the noise from others. Social Media has been telling me I should do this or that. For example, I should have a blog, I can easily make money online, I should try this outstanding chicken recipe, or the best ever (fill in the blank). Most of this is from Pinterest these days, but over the years had been from reading a lot of blogs as well.
As I walked, I thought about me. What do I like. What do I want from my life. What can I really accomplish.
See, I’ve done the blog thing. The commenting on others’ blogs in hopes they comment on mine. Trying to build an audience, Writing the right title. Using bold headings and bullet points. Connecting on social media.
And you know what? It isn’t me. Me is going for impromptu walks. Me is learning to relax without a To Do list that involves the computer all the time. Me is talking with my family. Me is being outside - biking, kayaking, hiking. Spending time at the computer instead of being present in my life is no longer me.
This blog has helped me sort some things out and I have learned from reading, but now I feel my head is full. So full, I can’t even read a book for enjoyment anymore. I am conditioned to read to improve. So I need a break from social media. Oh, I’ve done this before, but with the intention to get back on. This time, it may last a little longer. And this time, I am doing it with no guilt.
My friend Fran is knee deep in an awesome project. Unlike my blog, or social media pursuits, she has a purpose and a time frame. When she is done, “she’ll hitch a ride on the next wind.” I feel that is what I need to do now. I need to go with the wind. Something I think I did years ago when I stayed home with our children, and again when I had summers off as a teacher. These past three years I have lost that ability and I need it back. Desperately.
Thus, I may turn this blog private, I may not. I’m going to publish this post and then see how I feel. Know for sure, I’m trying to be outside more and let that wind take me while I take back my life.