Walking Unplugged

Photo from www.Awaken.org

Over the last few months I have witnessed people taking advantage of this glorious Spring and Summer weather by taking walks either by themselves, with their dogs, or with families, pushing strollers of precious children and grandchildren.    Getting out the door, disconnecting from the desk and home responsibilities, in order to quiet the mind and reconnect with nature is "medicine" we all need for our body and soul.   Have you ever regretted taking this time, or felt more stressed afterwards, probably never.

What are we clinging to?
But, things are different now.   We seem to fall vulnerable to the ties of our cell phones, making sure we are available at every waking moment, right up until our heads drop to the pillow at night.    Is there ever an unplugged time where we aren't waiting for that "buzz" or "ding" that someone is looking for us?  What will they think if we aren't answering right away?  Will they think I am OK?  Will they start wondering if I am ignoring them?  Oh my gosh, what will they think???   How can we break away from this demand our phones have created on us, and the guilt we feel if we don't answer right away?   Yes, this is what I am getting at, our beautiful walks, whether alone or with others, is not without the cell phone in our hands.  OK, so you say you are listing to your music, but wait there is a text, then a call, stop, answer, check it out......it's endless.

Let it go, one step at a time.
Start unplugging by letting go one step at a time.  I overheard someone say, "I forgot my cell phone on the counter at home when I ran out the door and it actually felt good to have a break from it.".     It is actually a treat for yourself to have a bit of daily quiet time.   Whether it is waking up before everyone in the house in quiet mode with your coffee or tea, or closing your eyes and meditating in bed after everyone has been tucked in, drive with no radio or phone with the windows open, your body and mind needs quiet time.   Maybe start once a week, working up to three times a week, or more if your body is so lucky.  Try sitting for lunch in a park (anywhere you won't be disturbed, even your car) for 1/2 hour without your phone, radio, or anything to disturb you.   This is a time for you to be in the moment of quiet, "quieting the mind".    

Quiet Mind for Good Health and Creativity
Medical research has proven that a mind is much more productive when it is given some quiet time.   As mentioned in Harvard Business Review, daydream walks can bring out the creative mind in all of us:
Daydream Walks:

"Most people have heard the story about how 3M's Arthur Fry came up with the idea for the Post-it note: he was daydreaming in church. Jonathan Schooler, a researcher at UC Santa Barbara, has repeatedly shown that people like Fry who daydream and let their minds wander score higher on creativity tests. What separates this from meditation is that, instead of emptying your mind, you're letting it fill up with random thoughts. The trick is to remain aware enough to recognize a sudden insight when it comes."

Another exercise, within our ability to fit in, is Dr.Andrew Weil's breathing technique which can be calming,  stress reducing, relaxing to the mind, and performed basically anywhere you are:

Breathing technique:

While sitting or lying down, (*in the beginning, due to adjustment of your body's oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in your bloodstream causing some dizziness), place your tongue behind the front teeth, keeping it there and relaxing the lips, take one normal deep breath, blow all the air out, NOW, Inhale 4 counts through the nose, hold breath for 7 seconds, then exhale 8 seconds out the mouth keeping tongue behind teeth and lips relaxed, pushing all the air out. Repeat this for at least 4-5 times. (*Once you do not experience a bit of dizziness you can do this anywhere in any position.)
Make it Simple
If all this is too much at first, simply try a couple of these things, of course unplugged at the time:
  1. Listen to the sounds of nature, seek them out without background noise:  Rain, birds, wind
  2. Listen to yourself breathing, really focus on your inhale and exhale, make note of how your body moves with the breath.
  3. Walk and feel the ground beneath your feet, feel your posture, relax your shoulders, release the tightness.
  4. Watch a child laughing and playing, reminisce your childhood play times.
Let Me Help You Get There
If you are feeling like you just can't fit in one more thing, then call on me as your Holistic Health Coach, I will help you reach the goal of Mindful Practice and Quieting the Mind.   Sometimes we just need a little help from someone else to get us on the right track!