Saturday, June 5, 2010

Betty Walks


Betty is a walker. It’s not just a way to show off my skintight one-piece bright green Spandex bodysuit. It' s more than that. I am hooked like a monkey on getting out, greeting the day and getting my walking ya-ya’s out.

I love what walking does for my physically, but walking is also my therapy. It’s a way to make peace with my past, to feel the power of my present, and as a form of active prayer for those I love.

Some days I walk to make peace with my past. I think about all the girls I used to be. Block by block, I move down the street and under the direction of my strong beating heart, I bring them to the forefront of my mind: the scared six-year-old, the awkward teen, the confused twenty year old. I welcome them and forgive them for mistakes, for insecurities that robbed them of opportunities. As I walk, I feel the heaviness of the past fall off. I no longer need to carry it with me. Instead, it can be a steady foundation from which to push off in to the future.

There are days when only the present fills my mind. At first, the nagging lists of things to do, the chores left undone follow me and snag at my mind, but then, like the swimmer who breaks free from the shallow water to swim in the deep, I propel myself forward and soon, the horizon opens up. The small details fall away and I enjoy the pure power of my body, my life right now. I can’t stop the passage of time, but here I am, striding through it, my head held high, my muscles sliding in and out, growing stronger with every stride.

Finally, on some days I walk as a form of prayer. Whispering a name at the beginning of the walk, I dedicate my walk to that person. Sometimes I think of a friend struggling with the bruises of life, sending her thoughts of compassion. During my mother’s hip surgery, I walked, hard, sending her thoughts of strength and comfort. Lately, I have dedicated walks to my friend E whose energy and appetite has left her as she copes with a life-changing disease. I send all that power to her over the 2000 miles that separate us. I know she feels it.

Walking is the thing that keeps me healthy, balanced, and (somewhat) sane.

What is it that does it for you?

58 comments:

Feeling Just Right said...

I haven't walked in a long long time now, but you're inspiring Me to.

When i used to walk earlier, i was undergoing a very traumatizing period in my life. I used to walk faster thinking I'd be able to leave all the trauma behind and just RACE/FLEE ahead. If I was angry, I walked. If I was happy, I'd find, I'm unable to move a muscle. Silly thinking. But.. that was then.

I'm reading for my licensing exams now and I don't go out home at all. Yesterday, I went out after 2 and a half weeks. I have exceeded a month sometimes. Totally unhealthy- not just physically, but mentally. I am letting myself stay stuck in a cramped space. Wrong thing to do. I'm changing that. today.

Thanks Bet, i needed that!

A big hug!

Ann said...

I used to walk a lot but don't do so much of it any more. It was always a stress reliever for me. When I was angry I walked until my mind was completely clear. I loved how walking could empty my head of all the junk that was floating around in it.
These days I use my photo editing, photography and craft projects to chase away the junk. I can get so lost in a project that the rest of the world is a blur in the background.

Ms. Anthropy said...

Dang, I need to get out of my cage more! Hubby keeps telling me to walk, it just sounds better when you say it. Too bad it requires going outside.

The Empress said...

I love walking,too, with no music, no iPod, nothing. just my thoughts.

I love this, though, dedicating your walk to someone.

WOnderfully you, that's for sure...

Lady Ren said...

I walk everyday- My parents used to take me for walks everyday and now I do the same for my monkeys.

Do you walk in those shoes?
Are they comfortable?
Have you noticed a difference?

I have Fit Flops that are supposed to help 'tone' haven't noticed anything in a year.

LittleSilkDress said...

For me it is running. With each pounding footstep I release stress, anger, frustration... All the negative emotions that sometimes crop up in life. It leaves me feeling empowered and relaxed.

Lindzena said...

Ha, oh I need to try walking. I have nothing really therapeutic like that I do. Except maybe journal keeping. I want a full body spandex suit, by the way. Soooooo attractive.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I used to walk in the mornings and enjoy the surroundings. What a great idea to dedicate your walk to someone. I guess it spurs you on and the enjoyment is fulfilling.

Miriam in KS said...

We have been walking just about every day now that there is more daylight and the weather is better. (There was a bit of snow in your home state this winter that lingered...but not as bad as in 1979. This year's snows really shut down our walking plans from December to about March!) Anyway, we drive to the lake 10 minutes from our home and walk at least one of the trails out there. We take anywhere from 30 minute to 2 and half hour walks. We stop to take pictures along the way. By the time we get back to our car and head home, most of our day's irritants have slipped away, we are renewed and we have had time together without interruptions.

Mashuga Mom said...

It's so great to walk, because you feel like it. They make some cool ass walking shoes that allow you to tighten your glutes, thighs and calves while you walk.
Now you can get a workout and enjoy being a prof walker.

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife said...

I love walking. It's a chance for me to just think about a lot of things and listen to my favorite music. :-)

DrSoosie said...

i think you know from an earlier post of mine that running does for me what walking does for you. It is really my greatest time of self reflection, introspection and resolution. It is my life line, my valium and my peace of mind. I am not sure what I might do without it. I suppose I would walk like you. There is nothing finer than being outside, with nature and moving forward!

loveable_homebody said...

Walking helps me feel physically and mentally strong, like it does for you. There's something about literally seeing things pass by me that helps me wrap my head around whatever's been swimming in it.

I love that you think about someone at the beginning of a walk and then dedicate the walk to thinking about that person. I think walking nurtures introspection. Perhaps walking helps us think closely about dear people because we see people around. Animals too. Through walking, we observe the emotions of others and the activity of nature. What could be more stimulating than that?

You seem like a very thoughful, kind person.

Holly Renee said...

Painting does that for me. It helps me release things. I love that you say a mantra on your walks. Beautiful idea!

slommler said...

I walk to tone up my body and to help me lose weight. I walk briskly and enjoy the scenery. My thoughts race and I think of so many things. Life, pain, loss, chores. It clears my mind...it also energizes me. Sometimes I walk with my neighbor...it is a form of bonding. The time goes by quickly. It doesn't feel like a walk when she is along. It feels like a coffee break. HA!
Love the walking shoes by the way!
Hugs
SueAnn

Nat said...

Walking is also my way of finding my inner peace....I like the solitude, the chance to reflect.
We have great walking places around here - woods and fields, some days I don't see another soul on my whole walk.

Theresa Milstein said...

I'm dying to get sneakers like those.

I love the poetry of this piece. Walking is a wonderful time to think. And reflecting on the many versions of you shows the progress you've made to become the woman you are.

Piedmont Writer said...

I used to walk, I haven't in a long time, which probably reveals why I look like this. When the baby goes to school in the fall I plan on starting up again. I miss it, a lot.

India Drummond said...

I can't go on walks anymore, and I really miss it!

I love how you dedicate your thoughts to a person. Great mind-training!

blueviolet said...

I love that walking creates such a peace in you. I think spending time with a hobby I love like scrapbooking is my refuge.

Nicolasa said...

Your walk is my run. I wish I went out and ran more. I run a few times a week but I know that running every other day would be most helpful!

Mr. Stupid said...

Its nice that you enjoy your Walks. I have always wanted to Walk. Though, waking up early is the hard part!
Toodles!:)

Hilary said...

What a great idea to dedicate your walk to someone in need of positive vibes. I don't walk as effectively as I used to. I can't seem to bring myself to go out without my camera and that act alone slows me down because I'm always looking. Maybe I need to go out once just for the walking and again later for the photo ops... though going sans camera would make me feel more naked than if I were in a one-piece, bright green, Spandex bodysuit! ;)

faye said...

Walking has been great therapy
for me. Not just the physical
rewards, but the inner peace
that it has developed.

Love those shoes !! But do they
come in orange ??

Madi and Mom said...

BB what a wonderful post!!
I, too, am a walker. Are you shoes Skeeches? If so do you like them?
I'm in the market for new shoes but am also dealing wint plantar faciitis so I currently have an insert. this time of year it is so hot in NC I normally exercise inside on my recumbent bike but I miss outside walking and the peace one gets from it.My mom was an avid walker and said she would walk until she could no longer put one foot in front of the other. In 2007,@79 she developed polymyositis, which at one point compltely had her bed ridden. I positive all the years of walking prior to '07 is what gave her the strength to endure 4 mos. of rigorous PT. She can walk down with a walker and to this day goes to the local mall to walk everyday...as she says slower but she is walking. Walk on my friend. Madi and Mom

Madi and Mom said...

ps Sorry for the typos...I should have proofed first...hopefully you can read the correct words...HA
M&M

Old Kitty said...

Hi

I just got me a pair of fitflop sandals!! They're great!!

Walking - it clears my mind, allows me to listen to me and it's great for observing stuff.

And it's a great way to unwind and just chill!

I love what walking does for you! It's very spiritual.

Take care
x

Daisy said...

Walking does it for me too, Betty. It is one of my best stress relievers. Well written post. I really enjoyed reading this one. Have a nice Sunday! :)

baygirl32 said...

I love walking, its the fresh air I crave. After reading your post, I will definatley be going for a walk today.

The Retired One said...

Wonderful discussion about walking..and I LOVE the idea of dedicating a walk to someone to send them positive energy. What a marvelous idea!

Pat said...

I used to walk a lot; now - not so much. I loved walking and now I have a lot of issues like back problems, hip problems and knee problems. Although if I walked I probably wouldn't have these problems right? It's a conundrum, alright. I'd have to take it slow, and walk a short distance, and build it up. But you have to start somewhere.

You've inspired me, Betty, with your wonderful post. Thanks!

liz said...

you make me want to walk. you could be a motivational speaker.

i laughed at your skintight green bodysuit! and i didn't figure you for those butt-tightening walking shoes!

Beth said...

Oh Betty!
You are a beautiful lady inside and out! I LOVE your reasons for walking and the blessings you reap, and share, from it!

Jimmy said...

Walking has always gotten me into a zone where I can actually think without being interuppted, I have always loved to walk and being forced to use crutches now just gives me a longer time to think :)

Jessica said...

Sitting in a garden. Planting life, baking my labors in a kitchen that's quiet and filled with light.

Senorita said...

Nice entry ! I wonder if you walk with those types of shoes. I do and it's so great, and it gives you more usage of your walking muscles.

I enjoy walking, but I find running more fulfilling since I not only need the excercise, but if I run long and hard enough it feels like I just got done having sex.

For reflection, I like to blog by candlelight.

Aging Mommy said...

Hi Betty - lovely post. As you know I love hiking, it is my favorite pastime which I don't get the opportunity to do these days but I have taken to evening walks now it gets dark later, after my daughter goes to bed and I so enjoy it. Walking and hiking for me are my way to relax and also my time to think. Being out in the fresh air, leaving everything else behind somehow frees up my mind and lightens my step.

I love how you describe all that walking means to you.

Mike said...

Journaling/blogging. Honest. I need a physical outlet for all the crap in my head. While exercise feels great and makes me feel better it doesn't pull out the drain to empty the dirty water.

Writing Without Periods! said...

I walk every day. I love it. It's my Zen time.
Mary

Tabor said...

You certainly make me regret that I do not walk more. I really like the way you motivate yourself!

Tabor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jingle said...

I side with you,
I love walking around,
walking is one of the best exercises...
Glad to see you walk
with pride and fun!

Momma Fargo said...

I've been wondering about those new shoes. See them all the time.

Amy said...

Love this post. I walk everyday and it has become my therapy. It began as a tool for weight loss but has become so much more. It clears my head and gets me ready to face my day!

Hello! I'm Kate. said...

I run & when running isn't a constant in my life everything feels yucky! I like how you said that you dedicate a walk to a friend, I think I might try that.

Kazzy said...

Walking as a form of prayer. So cool! I want some of those shoes, but I can't find any under a hundred bucks.

Dave King said...

A really splendid post. I think I envy you. I don't get to walk as much as I did, and not nearly as much as I would. Your post says it all. Great stuff!

Shan said...

Running used to do that for me. Then I did a crazy thing and ran a marathon. I finished the marathon and running at almost exactly the same time. Maybe that's why I've been decreasingly sane for nine years, hehe.

Shan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ally said...

the idea that you dedicate each walk to a person is so beautiful and something i've never thought to do. starting today, i am doing just that!

i prefer walking inside, i'm a hamster/treadmill person (i don't like "seeing people" when i'm sweating profusely).

thoughts go out to your friend e. disease is such an evil thing and i wish her only the best.

Marlene said...

Forgive me. I'm still trying to get past the mental picture of the green spandex. :)

I wish I was so motivated! I really NEED to walk. I wish I had someone to walk with (a.k.a. kick my butt). What kind of shoes are those you posted? Do you really walk in those? I've been eyeing some of those skechers shape-ups, but my daughters keep telling me they're ugly. Pffft. What do I care. Maybe they'll do something for my fat knees.

Boomer Pie said...

I use walking as a form of prayer also. Getting outside and seeing the fresh morning landscape as I walk along---instead of a blur if you run---puts such a fresh perspective on my day. There are jacaranda trees all over Florida. Is that where you live? You've really captured some nice shots of them.

Pat Tillett said...

A great post Betty! I'm gonna do me some walking today!

Happy Homemaker said...

Betty, I'm searching for the perfect poles before I begin my walking journey. Until then...

Happy Homemaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mommy on the Spot said...

Walking does it for me, too. Now it gives a breath during the day because the kids are relaxing in the stroller, and I can think.

It also gives me a chance to talk with my mom without interruption, even when the kids with us. Every Wednesday we go walking at the mall before it opens.

I just love walking.

Leanne said...

I like what you say here - "think about all the girls I used to be". Really like that. I NEED to walk. And I think I NEED to print this out and refer to it for motivation. Because I think I NEED to have moments of reflection and peace, pray and focus, as you describe. It sounds wonderful. Really. Thanks, Betty. You are ... wonderful.

Melly said...

I love walking. Do you wear those sneakers? I keep seeing them.. thought about buying a pair..