On my way home from work today, I witnessed two car crashes! It was the strangest thing - one minute everything was hunky-dory, and the next there was broken glass and scratched metal all over the place. I paused for a minute to make sure everything was okay, then continued my way home.
As I walked past drivers and passengers left to clean up the mess made on a Thursday night, I said a quick thanks for my car-less existence. And I also marveled at my walking coma --- I've done this trip so many times now, in the rain and snow, sunshine and freezing winds, that I barely notice where I am or what's going on around me (except, of course, for the mornings when I walk by John Stewart's house - I'm always looking out for him!). It took two car accidents to snap me out of my haze today.
I hear a lot about meditation, about its mental and physical benefits. This evening, I began to see my walks as a form of meditation. Sure, I usually have my ipod on, listening to NPR or Taylor Swift, or I'm talking to someone on the phone. But it is a rhythmic experience - not only is my physical movement the same, but the path I take is repeated twice a day, five days a week. I pass the same markers, the same people, the same shops and the same traffic lights. I keep a steady pace as I walk, moving just ahead of the strollers in Tribeca. I like my route, which (despite tonight's experience) is fairly free from major streets and traffic.
The walk gives me time to reflect, relax, unwind or prepare for whatever lies ahead. It is soothing, comforting, and indeed meditative.
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