“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” -Kahlil Gibran
Last weekend was quite disastrous. Oddly, I started to feel a cold developing right after plans fell through the cracks. It was nearly lunchtime, so my family and I opted to eat at Wendy’s while discussing how to make the most of the rest of the day. We could’ve have eaten this meal in our own town, but we made the trek to Elyria, Ohio. We were advised on places to check for my children’s missing father, to no avail. So, there we were, eating “comfort” food- burgers, fries, chicken, and pop. I ate a salad for good measure- it went well with the spicy chicken snack wrap.
I feel like we cheated ourselves on choosing to eat fast-food. It seemed like a satisfying choice after running around all morning and driving for an hour. My mind probably sent off a dysfunctional signal to be rewarded by carbs and convenience. Now that I am being reflective, I am starting to see unhealthy patterns in our lives.
Unhealthy patterns weren’t the only ways in which my family coped with distress that day. I suggested that we visit the old park where my kids played as very young children. It had been over 10 years since those early days of spinning around on the merry-go-round and the tire swing. In more recent years, we spent time at the park, scaling the rocks and blazing the trails.
Last week, when we visited Elyria, we were excited to see the renovations to Cascade Park. Although the park has now been landscaped differently- seemingly, with fewer trees and no access to the bridge, I found it to be more appealing to people that like to walk. Prior to renovations, the focal points of the park were the central playground, followed by the two smaller playgrounds. Over the years, we watched in despair as many of the pieces of equipment were left in states of disrepair. Kids no longer could take a ride on the bouncy car. There were a few enclosures filled with tables for families or couples to pause and enjoy the rolling green fields, or vast, lush trees.
The most important thing about last week was the time spent with family. In that time, we walked the newly-paved sidewalks and revisited the familiar rocks and caverns. For various reasons, walking was a breath of fresh air. Walking is therapeutic and it’s more than fitness.
We burned off our pent-up anxiety by walking. My mouth was a mile a minute, partly because I was angry, partly because I was rapid-cycling. We didn’t spend much time talking about the disappointment of the day. Instead, we talked about silly things. I also wish to say, there are a time and place where it becomes necessary to dig deeper into emotions, lest one might become prone to depression or resentment. I experienced depression following last weekend, but the depression was more intense than usual, on account of being sick.
Dialog- With Self and Others
Ever since I was a kid, walking around with friends has always been an easy (and free) way of socializing. It seems as though my kids aren’t always willing to go for a walk with me, though they might be more inclined to walk with their friends, nevertheless, when I coax them to walk with me, we usually have good discussions. Sometimes, we generate ideas by brainstorming with one another while walking.
Change of Scenery
Being around new scenes enables me to crawl out of the rut I’ve been wallowing. I think for this reason is why I’m able to generate ideas while walking. Of course, being with family or just moving in general, are also contributing factors.
While walking at the park, we saw many new faces and observed some subtle nuances in the environment. Perhaps my mind was working behind the scenes- trying to decode the changes and nuances, while my higher level dealt with the anger and disappointment in the preceding circumstances.
The visual beauty of walking is obvious. In Ohio, trees are abundant on many of the trails. One is almost always lucky enough to stumble upon a river or creek at many of the parks and trails.
A change in scenery and a breath of fresh air are a feast to both the mind and body. We can nurture ourselves by sharing a good walk with others- or, even just ourselves.