WALK IN YOU’RE TIRED. WALK IF YOU’RE SAD. WALK IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.
To which I would add: JUST WALK.
As the level of anxiety rises around us, for reasons that are palpable and known to all, our efforts to retain even a modicum of calm become more urgent, and more difficult.
Yoga has its uses.
Meditation, although hard for us Westerners, can certainly help.
Focused reading, for longer than twenty minutes, can give the mind a rest from its torments, or substitute the torments of the written page.
Music helps although sometimes the emotions are too raw to hear music without collapsing into tears—which might not be a bad thing.
Best of all, I’ve found over the years, is walking.
It doesn’t matter where, but the walk should last at least an hour, to prove beneficial. The first twenty minutes or so only serve to drive off, or muzzle, the demons.
I have to repeat a mantra to free my mind from their gabbling. But walking does it, and is a far better substitute than cigarettes, drugs, and the drug of alcohol, to which we may be tempted to turn in extremis.
I have a dear friend who when going through a rough time after a break up found that the only thing that helped him soothe his broken heart—and also helped him to sleep—was to walk everywhere.
Santa Fe is still a relatively small town, thank God, although the contractors who had a strangle hold on city regulations are doing their best to burst its seams, even though we are rapidly running out of water.
You can walk from one side to the other of the town in about half an hour—that is from the west to the east or vice versa. From the north to the south requires plodding through ever expanding malls and cheaply built subdivisions and would take a good deal longer, and be considerably more disturbing.
And people do walk here, alone or in couples, often being trailed by one or more dogs on leashes.
I sometimes wonder if the dogs benefit as much from these excursions as their owners; certainly the sniffing they do seems to offer up exquisite pleasure.
We don’t sniff, of course. But we have the trees and the sky and the earth, even if encased in cement, under our feet.
So just walk.