I came across this article yesterday—on new research showing that we’re more focused and creative in the great outdoors—and it really struck me—I needed to get out into nature. I’d skipped running outside all weekend, trying to do new workouts and get over my lingering cold issues and so by then, I was longing for it. I didn’t feel like running, however, after doing this new DVD for the first time Saturday, my muscles were still ridiculously sore. (I really like Cathe Friedrich. She’s no-nonsense, really fit and older than me! An inspiration of what I could become, fitness wise, if I get my act together…On the other hand, I can’t say I love the new yoga DVDs I got, a Tara Stiles set. She’s kind of mumbly and the moves were really hard on the one I tried to do, with her offering no modifications and I miss the sanskrit terms, which add an air of specialness to it. Anyway, I want to like her, but we’ll have to see… )
I decided to walk around the local lake and take our dog—both new and different things for me as I usually run and I usually do not take the dog. It was really nice and I like to think of it as a bit of a “habit breaker.” I need to do more of these habit breaking things, and hopefully a book I’m reading, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, will help me. The book is about mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), which has some good science behind it supporting mental health, peace and well being. (Yes, I am giving meditation another go, even after my disappointment over the summer.)
Each week of the reading will have two parts to it: a meditation exercise and habit breakers which are meant to free readers from their everyday, cyclical thinking. And, oh, do I need this. I am in quite a rut, but I do see trickles and flashes of sunlight way ahead of me at the end of some tunnel. The habit releaser for the first week is actually to sit in different chairs or alter the position of the chairs you use. I’ll do that while I’m working and eating. I do tend to sit in the same seat of the sofa all the time. (It will be good for my sofa, too to not be worn in the same place, ha ha!)
The walk around the lake was more immediately profound, though. It had the benefit of being outdoors, away from a screen and gave me the sense that I was doing something special and nice for someone else (my dog) at the same time. I learned, too, that it might be a good idea when I run to leave the headphones at home. While I don’t always have the time it takes to walk instead of run, and most of the time I do want the exercise of a good run rather than walk, I could probably benefit more from the mind-clearing, rather than grooving to mid-90s gangsta rap, trying to convince myself the lyrics don’t matter and its the beats I love.