When its -45, why not slow down?
I’m not always a rebel by choice or by intention. Sometimes it just feels like I’m an outsider because how I think and what I do is simply different than many of the people around me. I’m also noticing I’m growing to be different than the person I used to be. Rebelling against myself?
Case in point. I went for a walk outside yesterday. That’s not typically a big deal. But when it’s -35 and the windchill makes it -45, I like to acknowledge it takes a bit of bravery to venture out. Nor is that the part that makes me feel like an outsider (even though, technically I was an “outsider” just by being outside).
I posted a photo on Facebook that my wife took of me all bundled up, facing the sun and soaking in the warmth. I few people commented and “liked” it. I noticed that those who also claimed their bravery for venturing out in the cold shared how far and how long they were outside. To me, that made it feel like a competition that I didn’t sign up for.
Not too many years ago, I would have focused on these things, too. It mattered to me how fast and far I walked, ran or biked. I wondered how many calories I burned. I used to be very competitive, with others yes, but mostly with myself. Always having to “do my best”, “improve”, “push my limits”.
But these days, as I continue to deepen my relationship with nature, I’ve slowed down my movement in nature. What I focused on during my walk yesterday was much different than the distance and duration.
The patterns on the windswept snow were intricate and beautiful. Even though the temperature was frigid, I could still feel some warmth from the sun. A Pileated woodpecker, chickadees, and squirrels made themselves known and it amazes me how they just seem to carry on and adapt to the cold. The animal tracks made me curious; dog, fox or coyote?
I do still sometimes wonder if my physical fitness isn’t what it could/should be. I could move so much faster. I could go so much farther.
But what I do notice is that as I slow down, it allows me to go deeper. I know my walks in nature not only contribute to physical health, but also contribute to my mental, emotional and spiritual health. For me, movement is no longer just about improving my fitness, it’s about balancing wellness in all the different areas of my life.