Wandering: Make Your Own Adventure, Make A Situation!
Walking is one of my favourite past times. Whether it’s a gorgeous hike in the forest or a simple walk around the block after lunch, it’s the perfect tonic for mind, body and spirit. Here below are three unique approaches to the humble walk about, that can add a little extra charm or calm to your day. Do let me know how to get on and which you prefer.
I think I’ll go on a walkabout, to find out what it’s all about.The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Walkabout.
Idea One: Lunch Meditation, Let’s Get Lost
(10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how lost you get)
Go for an aimless walk and see where you end up. As you walk, pay attention to your surroundings: what do you see, who do you meet? On one or two exceptional occasions, I’ve found myself lost somewhere just outside the Bank of England while doing this – a long way from where I set out. So do take a map or your phone if you have to be back on time. If you can’t get outdoors, maybe you can wander round the building; you never know what you’ll find.
This mindfulness activity is taken from my book Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. I discovered the wonder of getting lost some years ago and have since found it to be a very affordable and intriguing past time. Out exploring without a plan, you’re open to serendipity and anything seems possible.
I recently read The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord (1967, France). For the most part, the book is about the consumerism that boomed in the post war period. Alongside this critique of consumerism was his suggestion that people were becoming ever more obsessed with images, and had begun to put appearances before reality, truth and actual experience.
He was part of a group called the Situationist International, who, according to the Encyclopaedia Britancia: “Believed that a society organised around such consumption induced boredom while shaping peoples desires in such a way that could only be fulfilled through the purchase of consumer goods”
Guy and the group used to create ‘situations’ or little moments of reality, where people could be happy and content in and amongst a society permeated by culture of endless buying and getting. One such situation was called a derive, which, put simply, means having a random walk around the city in order to meet new people, see unexpected places and have new (real) experiences.
I loved discovering Guy Debords work, and was thrilled to see that another philosophy lover was getting lost in the city more than 50 years before I had thought to do the same. If you want to learn more about the Society of The Spectacle and how it fits into wider political and social media culture, this write up is great.
Idea Two: Take a Meditative Walk
(15 minutes, depending on your schedule)
- Choose somewhere to walk where you will be relatively undisturbed and won’t walk into anything, perhaps a park or your garden or near to the beach. Begin by closing your eyes and breathing several easy gentle breaths. Find your centre point and your calm.
- Next open your eyes and begin to walk forwards without a plan, without forecasting and with a great sense of curiosity and presence.
- Notice how it feels to lift the feet, the legs, and how your body moves through space.
- Notice the experience of walking. Is there a sense of rushing of anticipation in the mind or body, a need to get going or momentum to move ahead?
- Can you be present and aware as you walk for fifteen minutes or so?