By Amanda Cleary Eastep
Day 5: Find Joy; Give up Anxiety [Days 1-4 linked below]
There is a lot to worry about in our lives – but there is so much joy in the world when you take time to breathe and focus on the good. What are ways that connecting with nature has brought you joy? How can you be intentional about finding the joy in life? What are routines you can build into your life that will help you consistently have a positive outlook? How can being in nature and hiking help you get over feelings of being overwhelm, sadness, or anxiety?
I would see the professor walking ever…so…slowwwly up the sidewalk that ran perpendicular to the path I took to my campus office every morning.
Her sturdy frame was hunched as if the bag in one hand and the purse in the other held bricks not books. She reminded me of pictures you see of women from other countries, bent low beneath the weight of baskets or swaddled children.
Sometimes, as I rushed to my building, I called good morning across the lawn, but she rarely heard me. She appeared deep in thought, her spirit receding like the features of her dark skin into the shadows cast by the campus oaks.
She never hurried. Yet, she didn’t seem restrained by any true weight or physical incapacity. Nor did she seem driven by the clock or her faculty to-do list.
Trudged is not the right word. Neither is plodded. But her steps were almost measured, methodical.
I imagined each one was a prayer said for the day ahead, a blessing dropped like a bread crumb along the trail.
I wondered why I was hurrying from my car to my desk. I could feel my mind collect anxious thoughts like burrs.
So I started to walk slower. I took deep breaths and prayed for the day.
Then I began to park on the edge of campus so that I had to walk along the wooded edge of the creek.
….Thank you for this place.
Then over the wooden bridge that spanned the creek.
…Be with my husband and my children and…
Then past the flowering trees in spring, the snow covered black boughs in winter, the blazing oranges in fall, and the freshly mowed lawn in summer.
…Grant me peace and patience and the words to write.
My morning became a meditation, not simply a route.
How can you be intentional about finding the joy in life? What routines have you built into your life that help you have a positive outlook? How does being in nature and walking/hiking help you get over feelings of overwhelm, sadness, or grief?
My filmmaker friend Erin is walking the Wicklow Way in Ireland. As part of a collaborative film project (to which my daughters and I have contributed), each day of the journey will have a theme. All week, I’m “walking alongside” Erin via this blog and sharing my experience of how walking/hiking/wandering on purpose can help and heal us.
Day 1: Finding Healthy Habits
Day 3: Wandering into Surprise
Day 4: Leaving Anger Along the Path