They say that some of your best clues about how you should spend your life lie in your most cherished childhood memories. The things that brought you joy as a six year old provide the roadmap to your heart’s desire.
In that case, it couldn’t be more appropriate that I will be walking 100 kilometres in the Kidney March in September AND that I will be releasing a special offering on Friday that focuses primarily on honouring and rejoicing in your wandering soul.
When I was six years old, I did something that I am in awe of to this very day.
I completed a 22 mile walk-a-thon. AT SIX YEARS OF AGE!
There’s a photo of me somewhere (it may have been lost when Mom moved off the farm) at the end of that incredible journey. I’m holding the hand of Walter Paramour (my friend’s dad) and we had both just finished the walk. He was the oldest to finish (in his 60s, I believe) and I was the youngest. If I remember correctly, in the picture I’m wearing a white ruffled blouse (which seems like an odd choice for a day of walking), and homemade polyester pants that are just a little too short for me.
If I can do that at six, surely I can walk 100 km. at forty-five!
Last night after a meeting downtown, I walked most of the way home. Seven kilometres. And you know what I felt as I walked? Pure six-year-old joy. I love to walk, I love to run, and I love to bike. I also like to drive, fly, take trains, ride boats – anything that feeds my wandering spirit – but I especially love it when the wandering happens at a human-propeled pace.
It’s so easy to forget the joy of wandering in our rush-to-the-next-appointment, get-the-kids-to-soccer, get-everything-accomplished-on-my-list lifestyle. We are addicted to action and we forget the beauty of slowing down to a human pace. Walking offers the body and mind time to slow down, to heal from some of the damage too much speed causes in our lives, and to clear the clutter from our overly stimulated minds.
My friend Cath Duncan (with whom I’ll be walking in September) has written beautifully about walking through adversity. Reading her post reminded me just how healing and therapeutic walking has always been for me. I remember, in fact, the time I was on my way to a group therapy session at a rape crisis centre, and when the niggling feeling told me I really didn’t want to be part of the group, I just walked right past the centre and kept on walking. Instead of group therapy, I spent my evening walking. I walked and walked, all over the beautiful old tree-lined neighbourhood I lived in. As I walked, something in me shifted and my troubled heart began to heal.
In the following weeks, it was walking and journaling that helped me work my way through the healing process after my rape. For some, group therapy might have been the right thing, but for me, my feet helped me find the path to healing.
Do you have a story about walking through adversity? Over at kidneyraffle.com (the amazing fundraising site for our walk) we’re gathering stories and we’d love to hear yours. Click on the button below to find out more. Rumour has it there may be a prize or two available for people who submit stories!
p.s. I would LOVE to have you sponsor my journey! You can do it here, or you can wait to do it through kidneyraffle.com between June 7 and 9 and be eligible for some amazing prizes.