How walking can help you unwind.
Take a moment to think about your day so far.
What do you remember seeing? What do your remember hearing? How about tasting, touching or catching the scent of? If your day has only just started then how about yesterday?
If you’re struggling to recall anything, don’t worry. When we are so busy and occupied, it can feel like the day passes in a haze. We lose touch with our senses and connection to the present moment.
I became reacquainted with my senses when I discovered one of my favourite books, Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
A successful author, her world literally collapsed when a large ceiling panel fell on her head while she was eating lunch at a restaurant. The head injury she sustained left her bedridden and disorientated for six months. She became extremely sensitive to light, lost her sense of taste and smell and the slightest touch was painful.
Then one day she caught the smell of spaghetti sauce coming from the kitchen. She raced into the kitchen and describes how she instinctively took off her shoes. “I knew I was standing on holy ground in my house. I had discovered the miracle of the sacred in the ordinary and my life would forever be changed.”
Romancing the Ordinary is a wonderful year long journey through the senses to bring you back to what Sarah calls, your “Essensual Self”.
After reading the book I decided to try and connect with my 'Essensual Self'.
I began to do a sensual audit each night before going to sleep. What could I remember seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling today? I found sights and sounds came quite easily. Tastes and smells were more tricky and feeling was almost impossible. In fact, I would often fall asleep before cracking that one. I had, it seemed, accidentally stumbled upon an excellent remedy for any trouble sleeping!
Gradually it became easier to rattle through the senses each night. Interestingly, I also became more attentive during the day. A cup of coffee, birdsong, the scent of jasmine, the feeling of the hand towel. I began to notice more.
In a digital age where our sight is prioritised, the other senses are often neglected. Opening to information from all my senses helped me to feel present and inspired.
We’re bringing this inspiration together into this week's #anewlookatsummer exercise, the listening walk.
🌿Exercise Two: The Listening Walk 🌿
Exercise 2 is an invitation to “come to your senses” with a listening walk inspired by Paul Showers children’s book, ‘The Listening Walk’.
We were made to be listening creatures. Hearing is one of the first senses to develop in the womb and is one of the last to leave us as we age. A listening walk is an opportunity to open up our senses and become present.
🍃How it works 🍃
Take yourself on a walk around the block and listen.
There are sounds everywhere. Slow down, take your time and breathe.
Listen for cars, heels on concrete, maybe rain or wind. Then listen for the sounds behind them, cutlery on a plate, laughter and a dog barking in the distance.
If you take a friend remember to walk in silence, this is all about taking time to listen.
Bonus tip: this can be a new and novel way to walk with your dog! 🐶