For years, my summer workout routine has been to get outside first thing in the morning. I lace up my shoes, pop in my earbuds, and hit the pavement. Sometimes I run, often I walk; my playlists keep me going as I wind through the streets of my neighborhood. It’s just me and my music before much of the world is awake.
Earlier this spring, however, I decided to switch things up. Life was pretty hectic with the transition to my new role, and my self-care regimen had taken a back seat. I was still working out, but it was rapid fire and intense (and in truth, probably not the best choice considering the stress I was feeling). I was skipping the yoga practice I had worked so hard to build. Instead of my morning meditation, I was editing first thing; at night, I was checking email until just before going to bed.
The free time I did have was devoted to my family, and I often found myself being impatient with them as I mindlessly checked my phone for emails and the latest social updates. I was spending too much time plugged in and missing out on too many important moments in my life. (Read all about the importance of unplugging at “You, Unplugged”.)
Fortunately, I realized pretty quickly that I was in desperate need of space — for quiet, uninterrupted time to think, to ideate, to connect. I needed to fill my tank and reincorporate more of the healthy-living practices we write about in every issue of Experience Life.
As I headed out for my walk one morning, it hit me: This was an opportunity to tune in. So rather that turning on the MapMyRun app and starting my “Run Jamie Run” playlist, I tucked my phone and earbuds in my pocket and went for a walk with me.
For the first time in a long time, I focused on where I was going. I watched the deeply angled light shift with the rising sun; I heard at least six different types of birds chirping and tried to figure out where they were coming from; I felt the cool air on my face and smelled what had to be pancakes coming from a house that had a garden I’d never noticed before. Who knew? (For helpful tips on how to more fully engage each of your senses, see “Come to Your Senses”.)
I tuned in to not only my surroundings, but also my physical and emotional states. I scanned my body for aches and pains, and adjusted my stride and speed accordingly. I focused on my breath, and when my mind began to wander, I paid attention: I thought about to-do lists, problems I’d been struggling with, ideas that had just started percolating.
As I made my way home, I was struck by the realization that I’d been missing out on a lot in my community by being plugged in all of these years. That walk was like its own form of meditation — I felt more alive and alert than I had in a long time.
Moving meditation is a regular part of my routine these days. Sure, I’m still plugged in quite a bit, but I’m finding my way back to an even healthier, happier place. I hope this issue helps you discover ways to reconnect with whatever it is you’ve been needing more of — and that you really listen to the call. Because you deserve that time and space for you.
P.S. Did you know this issue marks Experience Life’s 15-year anniversary? Don’t miss the timeline on page 16 in our print edition highlighting some of our key milestones along the way. Plus, we’ll be celebrating all summer at ExperienceLife.com — we hope you’ll join us!
Photography by Chad Holder