I feel a new tradition brewing. Within the last month I’ve taken a few “prayer/senses walks” on Sunday afternoons. I have to give them this moniker because any other time I’m walking, I’m speeding with a mission in mind. The mission of the prayer/senses walk, however, is simple yet challenging: there is no mission.
I purposely wear flip-flops and leave my sunglasses and iPod at home. The less supportive shoes force me to slow down and the freed senses allow me to drink in my surroundings. I am walking purely for the pleasure of walking, not to burn calories or reach a destination. Suddenly I am acutely aware of birds chirping, cars revving, wind whistling, and air filling my lungs and escaping again. And were those shrubs always such a vivid green? Even the air looks crisper as I permit my eyes to do more than keep me from bumping into things. I can smell the soil, the rich scent of growth, the heady and pungent perfumes from varieties of foliage. I gawk openly at beautiful houses I have seen dozens of times before but never really looked at. I let my imagination wander, picturing what the homes’ interiors look like and what their inhabitants’ lives are like.
During yesterday’s walk, I found myself thinking how it is so important to “indulge” in such things on a regular basis. But indulge was the wrong word — its connotation is that of something that is “bad” for us but we give in to every now and then as a treat. Our senses were not given to us with a cap; e.g., only use your nose to check if the milk has spoiled, your eyes to avoid collisions, ears to process necessary information, and touch to get from point A to B. We still have 90% of our sensory capacity left after such “necessary” functions to live an abundant life.
I found myself thinking, too, This is an important time to remember what life is really about. Again, I corrected myself. No, this is what life is all about. Not corporate ladders, the Joneses, diets, or life goals. It’s about wonder and appreciation, communion with our Creator. I forgot all about those self-improvements I want to make, or my “imperfections.” Instead, I marveled at the amazing complexity that is my body; with each breath and step I was overwhelmed with the realization that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I rejoiced in the moment, thanking God for my design and its ability to enjoy creation.
This walk may not have been productive in the literal sense. I had nothing to show per se for the time spent. Yet. Senses were awakened that had been running solely on default, creativity was re-energized as my mind explored “What if” and “I wonder,” a connection was established as I communed with my Creator, and the joy and peace I felt surpassed any that productivity could have generated.
Sundays may just become my most productive day of the week.