Doesn’t it seem like people are always on a quest for more extreme experiences? We chase new, weird and wonderful experiences thinking pure joy lies within it.
While I am a sucker for these experiences too, there is a therapeutic magic in performing well known and loved rituals. Something about it quiets my mind. It gives me the opportunity to reflect, to just be in the moment. It is often while performing long established rituals that I feel an immense gratitude fall over me.
Rituals really are actions or habits that ground us. Every season in life offers unique rituals. And thankfully, every season in nature offers these rituals too. They are free for the taking!
Oh winter. I have such a love hate relationship with you. Mostly love though, so we are not breaking up just yet.
No matter what the season, I usually feel very alive after talking a walk. Even if it takes forever to get out the door in the winter (if you live somewhere cold you know exactly what I mean!). Layers of clothing, a scarf perfectly tied around your neck, mittens, coat, sometimes a hat, and definitely shoes with a good grip. And if it’s really cold you have to make sure your scarf covers your nose!
There are so many physical benefits to getting out for a walk: you get your heart pumping, you breathe fresh air, you catch a bit of sun on your face and have rosy cheeks as a result of it all. Your body will thank you for it!
Perhaps the most valuable result is the effect on your mood! When I’m in a bit of a funk I always feel better after a walk. You know I often say that travelling is so great because it gives you a fresh perspective on your life and things you are dealing with. Well, I dare say that just getting out the door can do the exact same thing!
Sometimes I love to walk alone. I observe, and think and ponder very deep things. I people watch. I thank God for another glorious day – for the chance to be exactly where I am at that precise moment.
Other times I like to walk with a loved one. I’ve had many big and important conversations while walking and talking. A lot of advise and companionship. Hey, sometimes it’s awesome even if you don’t speak a word. Just be together.
By the way, do you see that frozen wave in the above photo? Crazy! That’s Lake Ontario and I’m standing on the beach taking the picture.
You know when you get back from your walk and the moment you step into the house a wall of heat hits you in the face? It is hard to imagine that before your walk you had to get dressed in so many layers and the thought of going out into the cold was awful. And now your body is warm and you cannot peal off all of those layers fast enough!
No winter ritual is complete without a hot beverage. After being outside and being exposed to the elements it is incredibly comforting and soothing to hold a warm mug in your hands. I hold my mug in both hands for the full effect. And then I bring the mug up to my nose and smell the sweet warmness. Rituals. Therapy. Warm heart and hands.
Remember earlier in this post I said that I don’t dislike winter too much? It is because it doesn’t last forever. Yes it is cold and messy and it takes forever to get dressed and out the door. But you know what? In just a few weeks it will be gone. It will be hot and we will play volleyball on this exact same beach. And I will think back to these magical, bundled up walks that gave me rosy cheeks!