Mindful walking

The town I work in is actually one of my favourite places. My parents would be take me out there on the train and we’d watch the ship sailing in and out of the harbour. Then we’d go across the road to the ice cream parlour, which has the best ice cream, and I’d climb up on a small pillar and watch the trains go by below.

I wound up going to college there too for four years. And now that I’m engaged, I really would love to get married in a hotel that overlooks the harbour.

The one thing I don’t like about this town is that it is the worst place for parking. Most spaces require payment and, not surprisingly, the parking fees are extreme to say the least. For my job, there are 6-7 free parking spaces nearby that are a challenge to get no matter what time of day. It’s on a residential cul-de-sac and the residents are not too happy with us parking there out of principle. If you don’t get one of these free spaces, then your next and/or only option is to park up at the local primary school. Here’s where mindful walking kicks in.

I have my good weeks and bad weeks when it comes to parking for work. The bad weeks mean I’m parked up at the primary school. The walk to work is fine because it’s downhill. However, the walk back is uphill, which can be torture depending on the conditions (rain, wind, dark nights, etc.). Usually I have my iPod with me and it helps with the trek, but lately, and due to the fact that my new handbag is too small to carry my Beats, I have decided to mindful walk.

Mindful walking was a task given to me one week during my mindfulness course. Basically I was to walk in complete awareness, taking in everything around me with all of my senses. I find the cold days are good for mindful walking because I believe I can smell the cold. I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I feel coldness has a smell and it’s a good smell.

Today, for example, I was wrapped up in my hat, scarf and gloves as I walked down from the school and did my best to ground myself in the present moment. I noticed the twigs on the ground, the noise of the cars and buses passing me, the feel of the cold penetrating my work clothes, etc. I also noticed that it became much quieter and peaceful once I turned onto a residential street. I could hear the clicking of my shoes off the ground.

I find that mindful walking makes this trek a little more bearable. I look forward to trying it out on a rainy day; I’d say my senses will be greatly stimulated during that!



The art of remembering

My biggest challenge of incorporating mindfulness into my everyday life, as I may have already mentioned, is remembering to do it. I could finish a task, such as brushing my teeth, and realise that I spent the entire time day dreaming. I forget to check in with myself in the morning and then again at night, or I remember one check-in but forget the other, etc. I’ll finish my work day and realise I didn’t stop for my mini check-ins.

My hope is that once I learn to remember to carry out my mindfulness tasks that it will become ingrained in me and I won’t need reminders. I could put post-it notes on the bathroom mirror or in the shower to remind me to focus on the task at hand. I could set my phone to remind at different points of the day to check-in, no matter what I’m doing. If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear them!