As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau
I love Thoreau! His quotes and reflections about life help me get into the moment, especially if I take one with me as I go out into a walk.
One of my favorites is the quote above, and I take it to heart.
As I begin my walk, I start out with a thought about how grateful I am to be able to walk. This statement by itself, is huge. Walking gives me freedom, independence, improved health and mobility. I cherish the privilege of having those particular qualities in my life simply because there is no guarantee that they are permanent. It’s like waking up in the morning, I love it so much I can’t ever fall back asleep. Get me into the day!
Always, at some point during my walk my focus shifts to the Earth. I am so very happy to be able to step out my front door into nature. Even though I walk miles and miles and loops and loops around the same path, I always manage to find one small thing in the outdoors that delights me. It can be bone-chilling cold, dreary, rainy, miserable oven-hot, yet some part of nature’s incredible and beautiful world will scream out “I’m here and I want you to see me!” What a gift! It’s then I start thinking about the randomness of this planet to “be” at all, and…me, haphazardly born as a part of it, well, all I hope is that I never take that for granted. It’s like looking at the billions and billions of stars at night and realizing for the first time, there is no planet like ours out there…anywhere!
Which leads me to a place of real gratitude because I exist, warts and all, I “am”. Now I go from, “Wow! I can’t believe I was born” to “Whoa! I can’t believe I made it this far.” If I think about all of the stupid things I did in the past, or when I watch the news at night, I realize how lucky I am because I’m still here. And the bottom line is…that’s amazing. I’m still here and I have a roof over my head, food on the table and people in my life I care about. Thank you Mr. Thoreau!
Yup, I’ll keep practicing gratitude when I walk…