11 Reasons Why You Should Take a Walk in the Woods

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
{Henry David Thoreau}


I live in Southern California where a walk in the woods is a luxury enjoyed only after a long drive or, like I did recently, an airplane ride. My dream is to someday live where I can step out of the house and onto a forested trail but, for now, inspired by my recent wanderings, I offer you these enticements, hopeful that they will encourage your own exploration.

  1. Technology has had its way with you. You need a break.
  2. The natural world has stood the test of time; there’s a lot to learn from it.
  3. Simpler is better. You already overthink too much stuff.
  4. Connection. The spacious intimacy of the woods is the perfect environment for a deeper conversation.
  5. You could use a fresh perspective. (Any walking will aid this, being in the woods is a bonus!)
  6. You love to be outside, remember?
  7. Your body is built to move. Even slowly, it’s hungry for it.
  8. You’ll get dirty, at least a little bit, and that dirt will reinvigorate the kid in you.
  9. Trees are quiet. They don’t talk back.
  10. Trees are patient. You won’t be rushed.
  11. You’ll be reminded that you are a part of something much larger than yourself.

I can’t help but wonder how our lives, relationships and communities would benefit if we chose more often to enjoy the restorative, essential and affirming benefits of a nice long walk in the woods.

Happy trails!


SWSP Ridge Trail

South Whidbey State Park, Ridge Loop Trail

 

 

 

 

 

Joyful Uncertainty

Insert your definition of success here:                                 .

Now, what is one thing – the next thing – you can do to move in that direction? It doesn’t have to be the best possible thing, just the thing that makes the most sense right now, given your present circumstances.

A good rule of thumb to help you decide is that your “next thing” brings you the unmistakable quality of joyful uncertainty.

Joyful because it’s what you want.

Uncertain because you know there are no guarantees.

If it only brings joy, it’s comfortable for you and not a stretch.

If it only brings uncertainty, it’s probably someone else’s agenda.

This is your path, after all, and your path is still being created.

For now, just the next thing.

You Are the Guide

img_6547

Path maker, there is no path.
You make the path by walking.
By walking, you make the path.

{Antonio Machado}


It’s quite a moment when you realize that it’s up to you.

It’s a liberating, frightening moment of recognition that the only way to create your work, your leadership, your life, is by taking the steps that you alone can take.

No matter how many loyal friends, family and colleagues you have supporting you, none of them can take the steps for you. None can provide a trail map for the path you alone must create. They can only cheer you on, provide respite when needed and encourage you to keep walking.

You must take the steps.

The box of maps is empty because we are always trying to substitute someone else’s version of a path for our own. We keep grasping at other people’s experiences as if we can borrow them, an ill-fitting pair of shoes never intended for our feet.

The box of maps will always be empty. Once we understand that, we can get busy walking.


 

Down to Earth

fullsizeoutput_24ce

We will be brought low; all the way down to earth. These moments can feel humiliating but they are better thought of as humbling, the essence of the human experience. It is our humor that saves us, and that will be our posthumous gift to those who follow.



humus
(n): the dark organic material in soils, produced by the decomposition of vegetable or animal matter and essential to the fertility of the earth. (see: dirt).

humility (n): a modest or low view of one’s own importance.

humiliate (verb): to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity.

human (adj): of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people.

humor (n): the quality of being amusing; a mood or state of mind.

posthumous (adj): arising, occurring, or continuing after one’s death.