...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sabbath Rest: to Walk and to Look

Recently, I began a walking program to get in a little better shape.  If you've gardened any number of seasons at all, you know--and sometimes forget, as I did this year--that gardening is back-breaking labor.  Your body might not be ready to jump into the season as quickly as the soil is ready to receive your labors!  Some years, I remember this truth.  Other years, I end up with an screaming sciatic nerve (as happened my first year of gardening) or a whiny shoulder blade and a neck that refuses to turn for a few days (as happened this year.)  So...I began walking and reading about walking.  One book I'm using for motivation has a great section on the spiritual element that can accompany the walking routine if you'll let it.  Here is an excerpt from that book, along with a few verses that seem to confirm that walking this "way" can bestrength to both body and soul.

Taken on one of my recent walks
Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 19th-century poet and an avid walker, once described the sky as "the daily bread of the eyes."

...Psychological research suggests that the reward of really seeing the sky may be greater than just a pleasant feeling from having taken in a nice view.  Specifically, sky gazing may sap stress by helping you put your emotions in perspective.  As Borden explains, "When you realize that everyone is in the sky instead of under it, as many people perceive themselves, you get a stronger sense of connectedness."...For some people, a good look up to the heavens is all they need to experience the sky's stress-reducing powers.  Others might get better results by using one of these two approaches. 

Turn outward.  Dr. Conn reminds you to "stay out of your head" when you walk.  "One Native American phrase for insanity translates as 'talking, talking, talking inside your head,' " she notes.  "When people keep up this incessant internal chatter, they don't get relief on their walks.  I remind them to stop, look, listen, smell and touch the world around them." 

Reframe what you see. It's easy to feel distressed or overwhelmed when some part of life's landscape is in disarray...As an example, imagine that you're walking near your town's dump, and you feel overwhelmed by its ugliness...Pretend that your eye is a camera lens.  Look closely at the dump through that lens.  Then turn the lens toward the sky.  As you take in the sky's beauty, you become unaware of the dump.  Tilt the lens again until you see only the dump.  Then shift back to the big picture, combining the sky and the dump.  This is a truer picture of reality--80% beauty, 20% ugly.  You'll feel not only less anxious about the ugliness but also empowered to do something about it if you want to...Even these simple acts can be truly potent tools for reframing your thoughts about life.  --from Preventions's Complete Book of Walking by Maggie Spilner
Ancient seers of God used that same larger picture perspective, that same upward glance filling their hearts when they made the following observations:

Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds [which] are higher than thou.  Job 35:5

Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven? Job 38:37

Thy mercy, O LORD, [is] in the heavens; [and] thy faithfulness [reacheth] unto the clouds.  Psalm 36:5

Happy upward look...

1 comment: