A Change of Venue

In my first post, Walk 20 Blocks and Call Me in the Morning!, I talked about the role that walking played in my healing journey. Initially, I walked in my mom’s neighborhood, and then my friend’s neighborhood. And, once I moved to an apartment, through the apartment complex parking lot. A friend of mine asked if I had visited a nearby park—Lake Willastein. At her recommendation, I started walking there. It was summer, so I got up early in order to avoid the heat. My early start offered me the chance to experience many a gorgeous sunrise on the lake.

A sky with pink, purple and orange clouds reflect in a body of water below. Silhouettes of trees like the shore on the opposite site of the water.
Sunrise at Lake Willastein Park

Soon I realized that the benefits of walking seemed to be even greater as I walked among the trees in the park, enjoyed the water fowl at the lake, and witnessed the purple, orange and yellow colors of the sky reflecting on the lake. Soon after starting this morning practice, I picked up The Nature Fix by Florence Williams. In it, she cites a study by Yoshifumi Miyazaki in which he discovered that: “leisurely forest walks, compared to urban walks, deliver a 12 percent decrease in cortisol levels.” His research team also “recorded a 7 percent decrease in sympathetic nerve activity, a 1.4 percent decrease in blood pressure, and a 6 percent decrease in heart rate.”

That resonated with me. The change from walking in the neighborhoods to walking around the lake felt like doubling the dose of medication I had been taking to heal from past traumas.… Read the full post “A Change of Venue”

The Power and Limitation of a Photo

I’ve been enjoying taking photos lately. And enjoying sharing them with others. It inspired me to add a Photo Gallery to this site. I’ve also been thinking about the difference between seeing a photo and experiencing a place.

Bright red and orange clouds float on the horizon and fade into a blue sky above. Silhouettes of trees can be seen on the shoreline. The sky and trees are all reflected in the water below.
Sunrise on Lake Willastein

Even the most striking photo cannot contain what our eyes and hearts can capture. The two-dimensional-ness of it cannot hold the full joy of the experience. It can’t capture the gratefulness that wells up inside at being there, at that very moment, witnessing the sun scatter colors too bright and varied to name.

It doesn’t capture the magic of not being able to tell exactly where the surface of the water is and the disorientation that follows. It cannot appreciate the moment when the eye lands on a plant that marks where the surface of the water actually is and how my mind has to recalibrate everything I see because it imagined the water’s surface to be higher. It can’t capture that moment of surprise and the enjoyment that comes from being a bit disoriented because the water and sky were conspiring to trick me and I feel pleased because I get the joke.

It can’t capture the amazement at the clarity of the reflection and the reminder that that the stillness of the water is the equanimity I should seek in my mind. Nor the moment of sadness and regret knowing that just recently I made a decision while the waters of my mind were rough and choppy.… Read the full post “The Power and Limitation of a Photo”