Walking Journey – Movement to Health
Wow! Can you believe the summer is almost over? I took a well needed rest from shows and writing to continue my journey to Health, my walking journey. I honestly didn’t expect to continue the walking journey for 2 years when I first started walking for health – but here we are. And it has been a wonderful learning experience for me. The movement – and its accomplishments – have brought much to my awareness.
The first accomplishment was walking everyday for the past 2 years: (Sept 18th 2020 – 2022). That, in itself, was a significant commitment even though I didn’t always have a certain time or distance to walk. The idea was to move, to keep moving … and to learn from that learning.
The second accomplishment related to the first accomplishment and its commitment on my part: I decided to walk at least 10+ miles each day for a year (Sept 13th 2021 – 2022) I didn’t start by walking 10 miles a day (16.1 km); I had to build up. But by almost a year after I began my walking journey I was walking 10 miles each day. In fact, I am kind of surprised that I have continued to the point where most of the summer of 2022 I have been walking a half marathon (13 miles or 21.1 km) every day. And to aid in my walking journey: last October I added in walking poles (Nordic poles or hiking sticks) to improve my gait, my upper body strength and my cardio. I still have some pains, new ones and old ones – however, the strides (pun intended) I have made in my health and awareness outweigh the minor challenges of a few aches and pains.
Here is one the things that I have become aware of: I have come to realize that after every time I would get myself to a place where I was happy with my health, something occurred that changed my pattern of moving. Relationships for example … or that time I drove a bus (yeah, not a fun story that created more health challenges than ever before) … altered my pattern of moving: my movement either became intermittent or non-existent. It has only been this past few months or so in 2022 that I realized that is when my body wasn’t functioning the way it is meant to that the movement pattern is changed.
So, do I need to walk two hours everyday to keep myself in a place of well-being? Probably not. However, I believe that I needed this kind of extensive walking duration at this time. Maintaining my health had been a real struggle over the past few years: my digestion was NOT working the way I felt it should, I felt faint a lot, I was uncomfortably bloated, and my hot flashes became unbearable. Those hot flashes still haven’t found balance in me yet but they aren’t quite as often – sort of.
Another awareness in my walking journey is really kind of interesting. Diet. Whoever says that ‘diet’ is the key to one’s weight and health is only partially correct. What we eat is extremely important but if we are immobile we could be eating perfectly and still not digesting properly. Movement is key to digestion. It isn’t just movement that takes our body out of feeling sluggish. No. Our endocrine, cardiovascular, digestive, even urinary systems – well really all of our body’s systems, functions and organs – rely on movement to give balance and wholeness throughout our magnificently designed bodies. Obviously there are some foods that contribute to our bodily functions – or ill functions – that lead to food sensitivities, allergies and the like. And beyond foods affecting our bodily functions there are drugs and even food components like sugar that can impact how our bodies function. And whatever we take into our bodies can also affect our mobility even to the point that we can’t move well. But I believe as long as we move in some way – we can still live healthily. And, of course, we become more aware as we grow as individuals – learning how, for example, to move for our own health and for our greater understanding. Let me take a moment to mention ‘growth’ and how it figures into all this.
Our journey here has many different stages of growth. There are many teachers out there who have lists of the different stages: Michael Beckwith states there are four (The Victim: Things are happening to me; The Manifester: Things are happening by me; The Channeler: Things are happening through me; Being Consciousness: Things are happening as me.). This description of the stages of growth makes sense to me and until we can pass the Victim I believe we get caught up on the journey, and held in place – without movement. Health is maybe not necessary in our Spiritual Growth – because we can even use poor health as something for us to spiritually work with so that we can grow – but without our Health what good is the rest of the journey? We are here to EnJOY ourselves – and our journey – and our Health is essential for this. If we still feel that things are Happening to Us, then we will be thinking that our bodies are betraying us, that we are out of balance, unsteady, uneven, even off-course. Such lopsidedness impacts our Growth and is a challenge for us to do what we can to overcome the inertia that stunts our Growth. When we are unhappy with our bodies – we definitely feel like we are victims. And Growth stops.
Movement is part of our Growth, it brings us into a state of balance and assists with the natural state our bodies require. Our bodies only require four things to be healthy: water, food, oxygen, and a functioning nervous system. You can see that although movement isn’t noted it probably should be because there are many things related to these four things that can interfere in our health … and our growth.
Healthy drinking water, on the other hand, with a balanced alkaline, low heavy metals and filtered from too much chlorine, fluoride etc. will certainly not interfere with our health – or growth. We take water for granted here in Canada and the US because we have so much fresh water that we forget when we live in cities that we might require more – we use and reuse our city water supplies and think nothing of what might be in the water that could interfere with our health and therefore our growth. My own water is quite a problem. I live in a home that is well over 100 years old and it has lead water pipes and even the street I live on is just now replacing the lead pipes. So I filter my water – water that is supposed to be drinkable when the city delivers it through lead pipes coming into my lead-piped house. I have a ceramic filter as the first stage of filtration – it gets a slimy yellow film that eventually prohibits water from being filtered down through the 8 stages of filtration. Sometimes this takes as little as a couple of weeks before I have to scrape off the yellow film so it can continue to do its job. This may not seem to be related to moving our bodies but trust me: when you are dehydrated movement is much more difficult. Hydration is essential for movement and for the functioning of all parts of our bodies. After all, our bodies are 45% to 75% water – depending on such things as age, gender, and fitness levels. If the water intake isn’t working properly we aren’t fueling our bodies effectively.
Healthy food choices are important for a balanced and healthy life. All the best food choices mean little if the body isn’t digesting properly. And, that is part of MY story. I really was becoming unwell as my body wasn’t digesting properly so, for me, once I structured a routine of walking and removed sugars from my diet and added in the movement my body began healing.
Oxygen is really important and for it to do its job we must move. When we move: we breathe better and our heart and lungs begin to work better. There are so many pollutants out there already in our world from car exhaust to house hold chemicals that doing whatever we can to improve our body’s ability to Breathe is crucial to a balanced body.
Last of the four essentials for healthy bodies: is a Functioning Nervous System. Such a nervous system requires electrical and chemical means to communicate to our body. It requires our brain and spinal cord to communicate to the rest of the body. Our body’s nervous system is impaired if our body doesn’t flow and move freely. Maintaining a healthy body requires little obstruction so that it can communicate effectively. Yoga assists with flexibility and keeping our spine clear. Whenever there are blocks in our body and we don’t communicate effectively we don’t feel or move in a balanced way. And without movement … there won’t be balance. Or health.
I guess I just never really saw the whole body connection being related to my Spiritual Growth until I spent the last 2 years regaining my mobility and balancing my body and bringing greater health as part of the process. What I can whole-heartily say is that what I have learned from this particular ‘walking journey’ has been one of the most important pieces of Growth to date. We, just like all that makes up our individual bodies, are All Connected. Everything is connected. To take one thing and overestimate its importance is going to bring us into a state of imbalance. I’ve seen it many times and I’ve seen people overvalue and undervalue exercise, diet and/or their Spiritual Journey. BEcoming addicted to anything brings imbalance. Some people become addicted to certain unhealthy foods: like sugar, alcohol, gluten etc. Some people become addicted to exercise and forget how the stress from too much exercise can impact one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. And I have seen others rely so much on their spiritual journey they forget to eat balanced meals or stay in a state of meditation for long periods and forget that we are here to LIVE life to the fullest and not get caught in the infinite worlds of Bliss. It feels wonderful to meditate and achieve higher levels of BEing – but we can get lost there and our physical bodies suffer. It’s all about movement. That is what brings our bodies, minds, heart, and Spirit into greater balances and there is harmony, communication, within all that is connected.
My ‘walking journey’ taught me just how important balance and harmony are and that no one part is any more important than another. And yes, we are all Connected and Everything is all Connected. And it is our connectedness in All that brings us into a state of Wholeness. No one piece of the puzzle – the components of our body – is more important than any other. What is important is that we fuel all of them. It is so important to Nurture and Nourish each part of our lives. And to achieve any state of Wholeness and Spiritual Growth – we must connect them all together in balance. We must accept, LOVE and find the Grace that is inherent in everything we do.
I am so incredibly Grateful for all the experiences I have had – and all of the things I have learned – over the past 2 years. It is interesting that these gifts of experience and of learning came about due to the darkness we have all been thrown into – all over the planet. This virus and vaccine narrative prompted me to change and see the value in this dark time. I am truly Grateful for this dark night and continue to commit myself to creating the necessary connections within me and beyond for the greater health and happiness of all. Join me on this Journey – walking or otherwise – and Share the LOVE.
And don’t forget: The walking, the movement … it will do us ALL good on our journeys!