In Praise Of Walking

When I moved into my new neighborhood a few months ago I didn't think about how much different it would be to go for a walk.  At my old place it was flat and in a short walk I was in green space and enjoyed the quiet of my late evening walks.  Walking from my home now is either up or down and green space is a longer walk away.  Now at night I walk in quiet neighborhoods and there is some exercise involved in moving up hill towards the open space with some really nice views.  All of this is about getting out and walking, which to me is a wonderful way to leave work behind and to clear my thoughts.   

Most times when my mind isn't too busy my walks are meditative.  I enjoy a quiet walk in which my mind slows down and my breath moves more into the forefront of my awareness.  Thich Nhat Hahn writes beautifully about walking meditation in a little book called, The Long Road Turns to Joy: A Guide to Walking Meditation.  It is available at

Sometimes my walks will be full of ideas and inspiration for things I am working on or new opportunities.  My ideas walks are usually very energetic and I come home feeling alive and ready to move into action.  Often the topic for this blog comes to me as I wander the hills here where I live.
Other times my walks are a break from my daily workouts.  The walks are always uphill and get my heart going.  On a cold morning or evening this time of year, I get to dress warm, pump my heart up and take in the wonderful views like the foothills of the Rockies which you see in this picture. 

Walking is wired to make you and I feel good.  With these days of fast doings there is very little time for slow beings.   Let me state that in another way because I think there is an important point here.  In the times we live there is so much emphasis on going fast, from fast foods to fast driving.  This emphasis has our bodies riding around and making little contact with the natural world around us.  If our feet rarely touch the ground in any meaningful way like going for a walk, we don’t feel grounded.  Feeling grounded is essential to offset the busy mind and the dizzy emotions.

Walking naturally slows us down and gets us back into our bodies.  This slowing down, brings us more easily into a mindful state which as you know from this blog is a way to be in the world that can bring us real happiness and peace of mind.  

Peace Letter #36

Dear Mr. President,

I am so glad you are going to talk to the Democrats too in the question and answer format.  They need guidance beyond the blindness of the influence money and the people pleasing egos.  It is time to get to work, drop the posturing and everyone get involved in finding solutions to what ails our nation.

You have the daunting task of guiding these elected representatives and the people of this nation forward in ways that go beyond partisanship and dogmatic obstructionism.  The best way is to keep it simple.  Focus on jobs worth having, affordable housing, reasonable healthcare for all, greening of America, and the end to war. 

We the people are not served by an agenda run by fear, by anti-government sentiment, by corporate dominance and by the religious righteous.  This change of culture is not simple but also needs to become part of the dialogue of change. 

Wow that is a huge undertaking.  Yes it can be done by opening one mind and one heart at a time. 

You and the rest of us have to be the change we wish to see in the world,

Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

Join me and send President Obama emails of support and encourage the end of war and the other dysfunctional ways of government at: