Do you walk? I’ve been walking most of my life. I’m pretty good at it now.
“…the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” Thoreau
When I was a kid I’d sneak out of my house after my parents were asleep to roam the neighborhood. Long into my living in urban areas my favorite time to walk was at night, the later the better. It’s quiet when all are tucked in bed, asleep. I could feel the peacefulness and it allowed my creativity to flow unimpeded. When I moved to more rural areas my walking shifted to daytime. Not that I didn’t walk during the day before, but night time is different in the country. Lions and tigers and bears are out there. And it’s really dark.
Creative Ideas Have Legs
Many well known people throughout history used walking for contemplation and to stimulate ideas. Thoreau, Nietzsche, Beethoven, Dickens, Hemingway, Goethe, Tesla, Steve Jobs, the list is almost endless. A 2014 study by Stanford University revealed that you are sixty percent more creative when walking than when sitting. I only recently learned these statistics, but I discovered long ago just by doing it that when I needed an idea, to get creative, walking was the way to go.
You can walk wherever you are and however it suits you. Alone or with others, urban, suburban, in nature, or just around the living room. Physical movement can help move the creative process along. For me, if I need an idea, it works to walk alone in nature usually with my dog Sam. We especially like a water view.
I don’t distract myself with goals to be met, measuring distance, time or speed. I’m not concerned with calories burned. I have found that in order to calm my mind, releasing all that internal gibbering takes about forty minutes. At that point my mind stills, having worked out all those mental kinks. I can tell that I’ve walked forty minutes by just this occurrence of no-thought. Verifying it with a watch time and again.
Life is a walk. We don’t know how long it will be. Or what direction it will take. Sometimes you’re alone, sometimes others join in. Scenery changes. Stuff happens. You try not to think about it. You think it through. One foot in front of the other. One step at a time. You just have to begin. And, once you’re there, you’ll know you’ve arrived.