A Long Walk: Thoughts On How To Regain Perspective
How do you regain perspective when you’ve been going through a rough patch in your life?
You might have noticed from the photos on this website that I like to go for long walks.
Here’s the thing about walking as far out into the natural world as you can: it puts your problems into perspective. It gives your mind some time to wind down and stop chattering at you all the time about your problems.
My clients pretty much always cry when they meet with me. I do, too. We go through boxes and boxes of Kleenex. It’s good, but sometimes I get weary and need to cleanse with a long walk in a place without cell phone coverage.
My favorite place is the Grand Canyon.
I just walked for six days on the Escalante Trail in the Canyon. It was challenging, cold and beautiful.
There was one morning by the Colorado River that stands out. The sun was just touching the Redwall; the river was still in shadow. It was below freezing and I started walking uphill to keep warm. I stood under an acacia tree (nasty thorns on those) and watched the sun come up. As it did, I happened to look at my feet and saw a little shard of broken pottery.
The Ancient Puebloans lived here something like 5,000 years ago. I thought about that as I picked up the little bit of broken pot. I could make out faint decorations.
I imagined for a moment the child sent to fill this water pot all those years ago — the child who tripped and dropped the pot and broke it. The last person who touched this bit of clay, on this very spot. I put that shard of pottery back on the ground. The sun broke over the eastern rim of the canyon.
I thought about how there was a whole culture living here once, and how this is all that’s left. A bit of pottery. An arrowhead. Some figures painted on rocks. Life is awfully short, and it often seems like we leave so little behind.
After walking for a couple of days, my mind clears a bit. The incessant thoughts about people’s problems, my own problems, and the world’s problems recede into the background, and for a while I can be present. When I walk out of the canyon, I have more space in my mind to recognize the important things in front of me: relationships with my friends, my family and my clients.
What is it that helps you put things in perspective? Walking? Painting? Cooking?
Whatever it is, make time for it.
Contact me with questions or to schedule an initial consultation.