~I try to find prettier streets in the neighborhood. Ones with trees or houses I enjoy looking at. I found a small enclave of Mi-Mo homes. It cheers me up.
~I think thoughts of healing. I talk to my joints and muscles. I ask my body to heal. I focus on proper posture, make small corrections with each step as needed. I focus on balance, a clear stride, on a beautiful posture.
~ I meditate on a piece of poetry or a haiku (small enough to focus) a bit of beautiful lyrics from a song or a Bible verse. I just let my mind play with the beauty of the words or thoughts.
~I pray. Sometimes, just for the people I pass. If I see an older person puttering in their yard with a cane in hand, I pray for their joints to be healed or free of pain and for their relatives not to forget them. If I see a lady who looks like she's rushing home from work with groceries, I pray for her to find ease in preparing her evening's meal and for her children to appreciate it. If I pass a tree that looks ailing, I pray for it to be rid of its pests. If it's rush hour, I pray for drivers to be safe. If I see another heavy person walking my route, I pray for them to get healthy and keep exercising and get home safely.
If there were a kyudo club in my area, I'd take it up. If find the practice aesthetically and meditatively beautiful. The ritual of it. The posture. The outfits. The actual weaponry. The focus. The gloves, even--and the 3-fingered glove when the hand is in shooting position, it's one of the most erotic things to me. Absolutely makes me kinda giddy. I find it entrancing, the way I find the movement of the feet in kendo entrancing The kyudo tradition of including serenity and beauty and unity, even when using a dangerous thing (bow and arrow), ravishes me.
Taisen Deshimaru in The Zen Way to the Martial Arts (1982) wrote:
Who releases the arrow? When is it released? When body and consciousness are one and perfectly detached; then the arrow flies freely to its target. The shooting stance is also important; it must be beautiful, harmonious -- both inside and outside the body.
I sometimes am in a nice zone in Pilates where my interior is as busy and productive as my exterior, but sometimes, I'm just telling myself, "Yes yes, you can do this, can get through this, breathe in, breathe out, you're a warrior..GAH!"
But walking, when I start with pain (hips) and end sometimes with pain (ankles, knees) has a pace and duration that allows me to just be within myself and with my body in a strange sort of way that, yes, can be amazingly cosmic and expansive.
I don't like making walking about counting steps. I count calories and I keep a time frame for exercise, but the walking itself...I just want to BE and BECOME. If that's Zen, fine. If that's spiritual, fine.
I just want exercise to become something so beautiful I cannot live without it. I want movement to bring me crazy pleasure, delirious pleasure. I want to end up seeing it as a joy.
So, this is one way.
How do YOU do your walking? Do you find ways to make exercising beautiful and pleasurable and not just utilitarian?
I'd like to know...