Walks of Gratitude

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Sometimes I prefer to run in silence and listen to the birds and insects flying around me while taking in the beautiful scenery absorbing the colors and energy of the Sonoran desert while I follow my breath- in and out, in and out, in and out. There are some days, like today, I listen to my favorite podcasts. Since the Rich Roll podcast is my favorite, I was all caught up on current episodes so I scrolled back in the years to find one that I have not heard.

August 20, 2017, Jon Gordon, “What’s Your North Star”. Perfect-I thought. He is an inspiring person and spoke about his evolving relationship to fear in difficult situations and his pathway to becoming a prolific writer and sought after speaker. It was all very interesting and informative. But what really struck me was when he spoke about his Walks Of Gratitude during his darkest times as a source of his creativity.

In 2017, I went through a difficult divorce and found a lot of strength and solace working with a wise Zen counselor working out of Marin County. During my times of darkness he would remind me to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Before bed at night I would write a list of all the things I was grateful for from that day. Sometimes there were too many to write. Other times I would practice gratitude while I was running, swimming or cycling or driving my kids to school.

The transformation would be instant- a shift would happen. In my darkness with intermixed anxiety and depression I would be bouncing around in my mind. While practicing gratitude, my awareness would arise and shift out of my confined mental activity into my expansive heart space. It was freeing, it was light, was like looking out across the vast open sky from a local mountain top.

“I am grateful for you little bird. I am grateful for you- my family, I am grateful for the people who built the pool I am swimming in now.” Breathe in, breathe out.

So I encourage you to explore Walks of Gratitude. Although beautiful scenery and nature are nice, you can walk anywhere. When you begin your walk start by following a couple of breath cycles and feel your chest rise and fall. Look around and notice where you are and how your body is moving while you walk. You can begin naming something you see that you are grateful for and then let the gratefulness keep pouring out. At the end of your walk take a moment to thank yourself for this physical and heart exercise and set the intention to share the good feelings created with others. Make your Walk of Gratitude yours.