Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Walking: What a (NOT) Terrible Way to Travel & Other Elementary Duh Moments

My favorite shrink wrapped hotel
(Note: I know a lot of people have never gone on a retreat or they are nervous about it or just don't understand the point of it...so I thought writing about my experience in some detail would be just the push some of you might need to give yourself this gift.)

The story behind the title of this post:

When Marcy and I were still car free, we were riding the bus one day to run some errands that were impossible on our bikes.  Here in this small city, the bus population is not...diverse like it is in bigger cities.  Here in this small city, the bus population tends to be of the lower economic strata and people with mental illness and, at the time, Marcy and me.  We were car free out of choice, and though I might be quirky, to say the least, I was the Queen of Mental Health compared to most of those with whom we shared our bus rides.

We were on our way home in a busy part of town.  Outside the bus, someone was walking.

A woman at the front of the bus, very loudly and gruffly proclaimed upon seeing the walking human, "WALKIN'!  What a terrible way to travel!"

Since then, often, when we see walkers, we tend to yell that and giggle.

As I have mentioned, the first thing I did after settling into my retreat space was to take a walk down to the water, whereupon I immediately had my First Cluster of Duh.

Duh Number One:

My body loves to walk. Contrary to what that woman thought of it, walkin' is, indeed, not a terrible way to travel at all.

As I walked, I realized that I very rarely, since returning to dance, do anything physical that A) does not have a "purpose" (i.e., exercise, creating movement, teaching); or B) does not exhaust me.

I enjoyed this thing called Walking Just to Walk.

And my body LOVED it.  I could move and stretch and oil these joints in a way that was relaxed and loving and kind to my body.  Imagine!

Which leads to...

Duh Number Two:

I realized that I have been Red Shoe-ing myself.  Frantic, frenzied, frenetic...those have been me.  There are a lot of reasons for this and I'm sure I'll be writing about this Red Shoe concept more, but suffice it to say, that I am learning my lesson.

Duh Number Three:

The sound of water heals me.  Instantly.  We live on a Great Lake, so how can I forget this?

But I have been moving so fast lately that I don't take the time to be at the Lake. It has turned into a treat when it should be a regular meal.

Duh Number Four:

I like quiet.  I did not know real quiet.  I thought I had quiet.

Again, we live in a small city, so relative to other, bigger places, it is quiet.  But the quiet of Chautauqua off season is a whole other beast.  A kind and gentle beast. I could hear my own thoughts because of this quiet.  My ears got the rest that I didn't even know they needed.

Some of you probably know exactly what I am talking about because you are great lovers of being out in nature, but I am a city girl who feels freaked out in the woods (like many country girls feel freaked out in the city), and I just had no idea...

That is why places like Chautauqua are perfect for me. It feels like a little town, so I am not isolated but I get the peace.

Duh Number Five:

I like not having access to a computer.  Yep.  You heard me right.  I liked having NO COMPUTER.  It was amazing.  There were a couple of times when I wanted to Facebook some amazing quote, but other than that, I didn't even think about the computer or miss it for one, freaking second.

And all of that from one short walk!

These realizations, you will be happy to know, have already changed the very structure and substance of my daily life, and I know they will continue to change how I approach my work.


Patty said...

Chautauqua does that to me too. I only go there in the off season. Usually late September and walk through the fallen leaves and think and clear my head. I love it there for the feeling of solitude among all the shrink rapped houses being put to sleep.

StorytellERdoc said...

Two posts in a day! Look at you go, bff! LOL

Thoroughly enjoyed this post, from one "Institute" fan to another. And your line about the sound of water being a treat instead of a meal? Awesome.

You need to write more, friend!

ellen said...

That bus story is too funny Christine. :-)

Glad you found joy on your retreat.

Svasti said...

Haha, as a default cyclist and walker, I agree! There's nothing better than wandering the streets on a sunny day and enjoying the ability to slowly take in your surroundings. It's when I find my favourite things, like craftily hidden street art!

Ditto re: the sound of water. And I don't get near it enough, either.

And quiet is good. It's great, actually.

I have this weird thing about internet and computers. When I'm around them, I WANT them. When I'm not, I really don't. :)

Love the photos of the houses all shrink-wrapped!

Emily said...

Beauty of living in a big city (or anywhere you're car-free I suppose!): Lots of walking! It definitely feels amazing and natural in an absurdly simple way we yogis should tap into more often. Thanks for sharing those "Duh!" moments so we can all "Duh!" ourselves!

Christine Claire Reed said...

Emily, even while we were car free for 9 years, I still approached walking, sadly, as a method of getting from A to B, rather than just an enjoyable way to experience my body.

Svasti, DITTO on the computers. If they are near to me, I MUST, and if they are not, I don't even think about them!

Edie said...

oh, i love walking, too. so much more relaxing than driving or talking the subway.

love your site!

best wishes,