Tag Archives: Walking

Looking Up: A Practice

Walking meditations are my new practice but to make things interesting,

I like to have little objectives during my walks. 

I think that is the Type A/Teacher-Planner in me. 

So recently I practiced looking up through the vantage point of trees in my neighborhood. 

 

I philosophically thought it could help me improve my mood and frustration

with being on quarantine for the past four weeks,

after all, looking up represents hope and positivity. 

       The sunlight streams            down through the leaves.

 

So I documented my practice with photos of some of my favorite trees

found on a beautiful, sunny day

walking up and down the streets in my little community.

 

 

   Plenty of blue sky above me.

 

Inhabiting the trees I saw a variety of birds, butterflies, bees, flowers, and fruit.

   Lemons

 

The signs of Spring arrive even though we are not gathering in groups to welcome it.

 

Jasmine

Flowering trees welcome bees and scent the air.

  Flowers on the eucalyptus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The iconic palm trees give the feel of a southern California beach resort.

 

  Tall stately palm trees.

 Bushy, full palm trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I walked in the shade of the trees, I looked up and relived memories of climbing trees as a young girl

and the freedom I felt being up high off the ground and nestled among the branches.

 

Memories of pretending to live  in tree houses.

 

Looking up is my aspiration,

but every once in awhile,

when I look down,

I find something surprising and that can be interesting too!

 

              A little snake black               slowly moving across the road.

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Frozen in Time

                                    Waiting

 

Right now we are all frozen in time, waiting for normalcy to return. We busy ourselves in our homes, some starting projects, some working remotely others entertaining children and try to keep the worry at bay.  I have started walking.  At first I just walked around the neighborhood, up and down every street, the couple of streets that have a small hill, taking in the view.  Then I started looking for different views, appreciating the variety of vantage points I have access to being on top of a mountain.

A view of rolling clouds with the threat of rain.

I look out at the quiet valley; I can see the streets with so few cars and the houses buttoned up tight.  In my neighborhood there is a sweet little park, I like to think of as a meditation spot, with a trickling fountain.  It is a calm place and offers another view of the distance.

A peaceful view.

This time, I begin to look for the little things along my walk.  I look for the art in the front yards, along the homes, the charming little yard statues.  I find that there is a lot of self expression here.

 

There are the hopes for peace and tranquility. The happy expression of joy.  The reminder to go within and find our own inner peace and joy.  The calming presence of self-reflection during a time of uncertainty all around us.

 

 

 

There are signs of hope under the watchful, eyes of peaceful saints.

 

These two, one resting by a tree and one providing a small bird with a drink of water, implore us to steady our resolve and to take stalk in all that we do have.

Gratitude and acceptance.

 

 

 

    There are playful gnomes watching our gardens.

These two are offering words of wisdom, “this is the beginning of a new day….when tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever.”  Take time to appreciate this day, this time, in whatever form it takes

 

 

 

 

 

There are animals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                           This one is real!

 

This is Topanga, so of course we have a flying pig!

 

This guy is stoic but I am sure he would like to fly if he could.

There are a few children.

 

The offering of water, the offering of what we have to give from the place that we are now.

 

The important thing is to remember that we might feel alone, but we are not alone.

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Looking for Signs of Hope

I went on a walk this afternoon to look for signs hope during this time of uncertainty. Just getting out of the house, the isolation, and the feeling that I exist in a world of one, was my motivation.  Plus, trying to get to those 10,000 steps. It is not hard to find beauty in the determination of the flowers to bloom and display their unique colors, shapes and beauty leading up to Spring.  A simple walk can lead to so many discoveries.  My little neighborhood is filled with beauty, so when I walked out of my house looking for signs of hope, I was lucky enough to find all of these signs of the natural beauty in our world.  It gave me a little hope on a somewhat sad and stressful day.

This beautiful view of the valley, the mountains and peeks of snow in the far right.

 

Here is a wide view with even more snow tipped mountains.

This little flower was peeking out in a succulent patch.

This is my favorite flowering bush, the Echium (Pride of Madeira)

The succulents are showing their happiness after days of rain.

A red rose stretching up, beginning to open.

These calla lilies are so beautiful and lush. It’s rare to see so many together.

There are so many daisies!

These soft, billowy clouds floating by against a turquoise sky.

The first sign of Spring and a spot for happy bees (zoom in).

 

Back home and the jasmine is in bloom sending its sweet scent around my house.

Ahhhh, the view from my porch never gets old.

Lavender at home. The scent, the wisps, more happy bees!

Tiny blooms sending out shoots.

Everything is blooming!

Forever roses, climbing, blooming, reaching across the arbor.

The sage is growing so tall!

These beauties on my porch are reaching for the sun.

My first poppy! It’s barely opened, but it is the first this Spring.

 

 

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Solo

My first solo trip, I am in the Bay, San Francisco and Berkeley to be exact, and I’ll be honest, I am not totally alone, staying with my cousin and visiting my daughter, but I flew here and am navigating the cities myself. I have used Lyft, Uber and BART. What started out, as a scary unknown has become a familiar luxury, and an interesting adventure.

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These amazing sunflowers were taller than me!

 

The Lyft and Uber drivers have been pleasant for the most part and some have been really interesting. I have been able to view the city without worrying about navigating it myself so I have seen amazing architecture, bustling streets, people walking, biking, taking dogs for a stroll and the many homeless people here.

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BART is like a ride at Disneyland complete with the voice announcing incoming trains and the stops along the way. Interacting with the other riders is pleasant and people aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation. It is so different from the solitude car culture of L.A. that I am used to.

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Walking around Berkeley is relaxing and the homes and gardens charming. The climate brings out the best in both vegetables and flowers. The front gardens are sometimes tame but usually haphazard, with a variety of flowers and whimsical decorations. Walking gives me time to think and I don’t distract myself by talking on the phone, or listening to music. I want to hear the world around me and notice everything.

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This first solo trip gave me a lot of anxiety as it was approaching, but I feel like I have crossed a hurdle and can relax a little, at least in this one new experience, and hopefully in the other new solo areas of my life.

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Back on the Mat

 

yoga mat

This was the week. My Hay House calendar for Tuesday said “Today is the beginning of a positive turning point for me.” I decided to take that seriously and get up and go out into the world of my former life. I went for a 2 mile walk and felt pretty accomplished, a little out of shape, but happier. I considered it a meditation walk, contemplating the houses, trees, birds, dogs out for their morning walks and listening to the sounds in the neighborhood and in my head.

Wednesday I decided to take the big step and return to yoga. I haven’t been since early March, unable to face the introspection and solitude on my yoga mat, but my body craved the stretch, the familiar asanas and the quiet reward of the savasana at the end of class. I walked into the studio and was asked if I had cancelled my membership. No, I’ve just been gone for a while. I’ve had some stuff going on. I have seen the payment going out of my account each month. No problem. Walking into the room I run into a teacher I know who is a member of my community. She knows everything and gives me a hug and encouragement, “It will be good, just what you need, really.” I hope so.

Laying out my mat, I assemble the familiar props, foam blocks, blankets and a strap; I lay down, breathing in the calm. The teacher is smiling and positive, speaking slowly and demonstrating every new posture and walking around the room helping to make small adjustments. The bamboo floor is smooth and lovely, the blue walls are tranquil and the view out the windows is of children playing on a leafy climbing structure. I breathe, arms circling up and folding forward, then fingertips to shins stretching out and folding down again. Stepping back into plank, the most difficult for me, I breathe into the rigidity of the pose and then down, chaturanga dandasana, pushing slightly up to a low cobra and elevating into downward facing dog. Stepping forward on my mat, arms circling, reaching up, I look up at my hands and then bring them to my heart center. There is nowhere else to look, except in my heart.

Today I went to yoga, the second day back was not as dramatic, no questions, just smiles and hellos by name. I settled in and welcomed the calm, the warmth of the room and the returning familiarity of sun salutations. Today we work on balance. Triangle pose and preparation for half-moon, standing on one leg, lifting the other straight out and up using the foam block for support. I need practice on balancing, my leg wobbles and I am glad for the support of the block but it still doesn’t guarantee an easy balance. It still takes work, repositioning and focusing on the breathing through it all.

 

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Walking the Lake

IMG_0144It was a good idea to meet up with my friend and her dog to walk the lake today.  The weather was perfect, crisp, slightly warm from the weak winter sun and the winds hadn’t picked up yet.  We walked briskly, catching up and keeping up with her dog Pink.  Ellen and I have been friends since we were 13 and that’s saying a lot.  A lot of time and water under the bridge.  We have been in and out of contact and manage to stay connected somehow.  We chat and observe the people, old immigrants, young children still on winter break, men fishing or playing with remote-controlled boats on the lake.  We pass the different areas; the playground, the bridge crossing the tumbling water, the bird-filled trees that sound like an aviary as we pass underneath and the benches inhabited by people reading, talking, resting and daydreaming.  We see children frolicking as they run from the large geese and tease the smaller birds with crumbs.  We hear people speaking many languages.  What is that?  Russian, Spanish, Italian?  There is a melding pot of people all out for a day in January, starting the New Year with a stroll, a walk hand-in-hand, in workout gear, new sneakers, old walking shoes and jackets, with arms pumping and quick breaths, with hands holding canes to steady plump bodies breathing slowly.  For this hour, we walk in this moment in time.  Old friends sharing, enjoying the beauty that exists within a busy city.

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Why I Walk

At the finish line!

Last weekend I walked 26 miles through the lovely town of Santa Barbara with 2500 women and men, only 2 of whom I knew.  We walked as part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, raising a minimum of $1800 each, most walkers raised more, to help in the fight against this horrible disease.  I walked for the first time last year with my friend who is a survivor and the entire event was so motivating that I signed up again for this year. 
 
I walk for a few reasons:  breast cancer has touched many women I know, I want to improve my health and walking is a great way to do that, the event itself is a very uplifting experience and I love the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself.

I walk in honor and in memory of those touched by breast cancer.

My experience with breast cancer began when I was a little girl and my favorite aunt, my mother’s sister, was stricken with the disease.  She suffered from a horrible, long illness and passed away when I was 10.  I had grown up with her in my life and my two cousins are like brothers to me.  My mother was devastated by the loss of her sister-who was her closest confidant and supporter.  I felt the emptiness with anger and sadness.  Through the years, my friends have also received the diagnosis, but fortunately most have survived.  I am walking for more prevention, a cure and the eradication of this disease.
 
I am walking to improve my health, build strength and stamina to improve my own chances of a long and healthy life. I want to be there for my daughters future, to share time with my husband and to continue on my adventure in life.  I want to be strong, healthy and take challenges like the Avon Walk as opportunities to push myself to a higher limit.
 

A very motivated group of 2500, ready to start the first day of a two-day walk!

I enjoy the camaraderie of the Avon Walk from the participants to the event coordinators, volunteers and crew.  Women and men of all different shapes and sizes, ages, races and social classes walk together in a big cloud of pink through cities around the country to bring awareness and make a positive statement:  We are walking for a cause that we are determined to win.
 
                                                       
Walking with Lezlie, my friend of 25 years, and her daughter Courtney, who I have known since she was 2. Three days before the walk, Courtney’s best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day before the walk she had a double mastectomy. She is 27 years old. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
Our lives are filled with egocentric thoughts, activities and experiences.  Participating in the Avon Walk is a chance to put myself on the back burner and to do something for others.  I am not the star, the biggest fundraiser or the fastest walker.  I am one of many, and that feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, is humbling.  Raising money for this cause, walking for two days with 2500 selfless participants and survivors through a city that comes out to support us, fills me with love, positive energy and determination to continue.
  

Houses were decorated to welcome us to neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara.

I have already signed up for next years walk and I am in training again.
 
 

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