Walking not only gets me moving and enjoying the outdoors, but also gives me mental space for thoughts that are crowded out during my busy day. Today I walked to the Japanese garden for the first time in a while. The usual thoughts of disappointment surfaced about not keeping to my goals of regular walking. I thought about the ups and downs of “success” and “failure.” I was trying to figure out how to avoid the downs. As an image graphing this pattern floated ominously through my mind, I started to see it as waves. A lot of things in life and nature follow wave patterns. In fact it is a healthy pattern. A straight line would be unnatural. So I thought, why am I trying to force myself into a rigid pattern that doesn’t allow for natural fluctuation? Shouldn’t I expect my journey to a more healthy way of life would have its ups and downs?
I realize that as I try to achieve a state of wellness, transformation of the mind and body are both important. We have behavior and thoughts patterns that have worn deep grooves over the years. Your mind wants to return to those old familiar paths, so it takes time to recreate the landscape of your mind. I’ve been working on improving the way that I cope with stress and the attitudes I have that may get in the way of creating healthy changes. Expecting these ups and downs as a natural part of the process is an important mental shift I need to make in order to avoid getting discouraged. I need to focus on enjoying the ups and allowing myself the downs.