Rediscover the Stroll

In a few minutes, I'll be out on that powder white sand beach.  walking on beach And I won't be going for a power walk; I'll be going for a stroll.

Please understand; I believe in power walks. For the first few decades of my life, I was a competitive swimmer, tennis player and runner. Since then I've been a walker.

When you've been an athlete, the carry-over mindset when going for a walk is to go fast, get your heart pumping, and NOT STOP.

Stopping is quitting. Stopping is contrary to the goal of getting a work-out. Stopping is for wimps. Then one day, while on my daily lake walk with my dog Murphy in Reston, Virginia, I impulsively stopped at Gratitude Bench.

And Nature came and rolled at my feet.

All of a sudden, I could hear a variety of birds doing the original tweet. Much to my pleasant surprise, there was Mr. Blue Heron nesting in a nearby tree. A gentle breeze ruffling the leaves. The exquisite sounds of almost silence. I wouldn't have even noticed them if I had power-walked by.

Since then, I alternate "work-out walks" with strolls.

As former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones says, "There is more than one right answer."

The past few days, I've been exploring Saint Petersburg, Florida with my friend Judy Gray.  We've had the most wonderful strolls. Impulsively stopping here, checking out that path, wandering down that road, turning around to look at where we've just been. Pausing to imprint.

Judy likens it to going for a walk with her beloved dogs. They turn every walk into an exploration. Sniff, sniff, Tails up. Eyes bright. It doesn't matter if they've taken their neighborhood walk a hundred times before - it's still new and intriguing to them. Still a source of joy.

Judy said something profound. "We don't really experience a place until we walk it."

In the past five months as part of My Year by the Water, I've crisscrossed the country from Marina Del Rey to Chesapeake Bay ... twice. I've had the pleasure of staying at dozens of water-front resorts from Pensacola to Portland, the Hawaiian Islands to Hilton Head Island.

And Judy's right. I can SEE a town by driving through or around it. But I don't really feel I've EXPERIENCED it unless I've explored it on my own two feet.

It's the difference between being a spectator and a participant.

So, I will continue to power walk to get my heart pumping, my blood flowing and my body moving. And I will also set out on leisurely strolls so I can experience the world with newly aware eyes and an even more appreciative heart.

I will walk and roll AND stop and stroll.

How about you? What does walking mean to you and do for you? How does it help you achieve SerenDestiny - a life where the light is on in your eyes?