Are you smiling yet? Just looking at this picture makes me smile.
My son and I are trying out different walking paths in nearby parks. It turns out there are several nature walks near me. These walking paths are paved but in the woods. We’ve seen many fallen trees and some cut down for safety’s sake, but none with smiley faces.
We are the ones smiling, just for the sake of being there together.
We walk for health, to enjoy nature in the city, and spend quality time together. And we are being intentional about which park to visit, which walking path to take, how far we’ll walk, and how long it should take us.
Enjoying the fresh air by physically moving through it one step at a time releases us, bit by bit, from this pandemic’s lingering hold on us. Like a remedy for our souls, these walks bring about recovery from immediate woes and sets things right for the week ahead.
For just a little while, the world is perfect again, and in these few moments, we can forget that it isn’t.
The Benefits of Taking an Awe Walk
An “awe walk” is a stroll in which you intentionally shift your attention outward instead of inward. So, you’re not thinking about the tight deadline, the unfinished project, the strain in your relationship with your spouse, or concerns about the coronavirus. (Robinson, 2020)
These walks with my son are awe walks for me. The good news is you can have your own awe walk or take one with a friend. There is an awesome feel about walking in ordinary places with extraordinary results.
Either way, you won’t want to miss out on these important benefits of walking for the mind, body, and soul:
- The most important benefit is communing with our God and other humans you love.
- Another is Joy. The sheer joy in seeing the different birds, the sounds of wind gently blowing through new leaves, a single blooming Redbud tree among the other slow-to-awaken Maples.
- Gratitude is another. It manifests as deep, aching awe in the face of creation. We have mindfulness of even the tiniest of flowers,
- A sense of accomplishment and well-being for having made it through your planned route.
- Then there are the health benefits of walking for the mind and body. Walking is good for our overall health.
Savoring and Saving Your Awe Walk Moments
I think it’s safe to say that we could apply this “awe walk” concept to life. Savoring the ordinary things that produce extraordinary experiences. The ones you’ll want to remember, like the first time you kissed your partner, watched your child playing in the rain, or that lunch with friends that was so special you saved a napkin and wrote the date on it.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
–James 1:17 (CSB)
Life is hard, my friends. So being intentional about savoring the moment is important. Allow God to make those moments meaningful. Take awe walks. Include family and friends when you can. Learn to savor them as God’s gifts to you. And smile, because God’s gifts are good.
My son will be going off to graduate school soon enough, and I’m trusting God to care for him. In the meantime, I’m adding our weekend walks to my “perfect days” list. (Yes, I have a list. I started calling it a perfect days list before I found out about awe walks.)
How do you record your awe walks? You know, those perfect days you’ll want to revisit in your mind over and over again. Consider them God’s gifts to savor now and save in our hearts for later. They will put a smile on your face, I promise.
Join me and other great writers over at the Grace & Truth linkup this week.
Reynolds, Gretchen. “An ‘Awe Walk’ Might Do Wonders for Your Well-Being.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Sept. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/09/30/well/move/an-awe-walk-might-do-wonders-for-your-well-being.html. Updated Oct. 1, 2020
Robinson, Bryan. “What Are ‘Awe Walks?”.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 3 Nov. 2020, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-right-mindset/202011/what-are-awe-walks/
Publishing, Harvard Health. “Sour Mood Getting You down? Get Back to Nature.” Harvard Health, Harvard University., July 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature. Updated: March 30, 2021
Stepko, Barbara. “8 Ways Walking Can Boost Your Physical and Mental Health.” AARP, 1 June 2020, www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2019/good-reasons-to-get-walking.
Featured Photo from https://zigzagpod.com/
WRITER TIPS: I’m using the free version of Easybib.com to create the above resource citations.