10 Lessons I Learned as a Walking Commuter

It started back in October when Jennie my GMC had to go in for (surprise) maintenance and I had to walk to work for a day.  Next thing I know walking to work for one day, turned into walking three days a week, sometimes four. Now three months later with many miles under my walking shoes, this is what has happened to me;

 

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I began to notice my neighborhood. I know when to call the City because a street light is out. I know the exact times that the trash truck comes, and the school busses arrive one block down. I now know the crossing guard and chat with him as he stops traffic for me. I’ve also made friends with a bunch of guys that meet up on my street corner. All I did was introduce myself after having walked by them a few times. We now chat nearly everyday. In fact, I actually miss them if they aren’t out when I return home from work.

As a result of my walking my work commute, I am in the beginning stages of being an active member of my community. People see me out and about instead of just hopping into my truck hurriedly leaving for one place or another. By putting myself out and among those who live in my neighborhood, I open myself up to new relationships.

 

Nature became my sanctuary…again.  Everyone who knows me knows that I have horses. I grew up in the country surrounded by nature, and my friends and I would play from sun up until sun down out in the fields, woods, barns and creeks. We were tan, dirty, scraped up and full of bug bites by the time we returned home for dinner. As childhood gave way into motherhood, I’ve spent less time in the woods; even with my outdoor lifestyle, and my morning nature walks to work helped me to realize that.

Scientists have discovered that you if you camp in the woods for just one week, you’ll completely reset your biological fields. This means that you’ll rise and set with the sun, just like our ancestors. Today we have artificial lights, buzzers, dings, and distractions that have us so backwards three ways from Sunday that we pop pills just to get our bodies back to doing what it was designed to do. The trees emit a powerful vibrational frequency that readjusts ours and has been known to transmute depression.

About halfway to work there is this group of trees along the sidewalk I walk on. I call them the “high counsel”. They look so regal and like they have all the secrets to the Universe. I stop to look up at them often and try to imagine all that they’ve seen. Nature can help us if we let it.

 

I began to understand that I create my own security.  During my commute, I must walk past a huge park. I can either walk around the park on a small ledge of a sidewalk that is relatively dark and has cars passing close to me, or I can walk through the park, which by that time is completely dark and also empty. Which way I go depends entirely upon how I’m feeling in the moment. Do I want a longer walk? Then I walk around the park. Did I stay later at work and now want to get home to see my family? Then I walk through. Either way I choose, I refuse to take into account the “boogeymen”.  The odds of anything bad happening are much smaller than what most of the world is told to believe.

Should we deliberately do stupid things and put ourselves in harms way? No. However, this park isn’t dangerous, it’s just dark and void of human life at 5pm. As a spiritually evolved person, I’ve come to embrace the fact that dark and desolate does not automatically mean dangerous.  If you stretch this into a metaphor for personal growth; most people don’t chose to grow or abandon what no longer serves them because change is done in the dark while we are alone and we’re conditioned to believ that is scary. Yet, the butterfly sits in his cocoon alone…in the dark. Then look what happens to him. I can no longer equate being “unsafe” just because it’s dark outside. I’ve been harmed more in the daylight than I ever have been in the dark.

 

It made me a better driver. It only takes one driver to nearly kill you for you to take driving more seriously. This is especially true when you are walking in a crosswalk, with the blessings of the green light therefore making your near demise no fault of your own.

When you are in a car and there is an accident, odds are you’ll be able to articulate your side of the story to the police. However, when you are a pedestrian chances are that you will not be able to say anything to anyone for quite sometime. If ever. My experience as a walking commuter made me aware of my own driving habits, and while I feel that I’m a cautious driver, I now go slower.  And not only do I stop for pedestrians, I wait until they are all the way across the street before I proceed.

 

I’m on time for work and meetings. When I was younger, I was perpetually late and my time management skills were totally under developed.  I constantly over estimated how much time I actually had while under estimating the time it would take me to get some place.

Unless it had to do with horses…I was always on time for that.

Walking to work means that I have to allow 20 minutes to get to work instead of 5. When I’m meeting someone downtown for lunch, I have to allow 15 minutes instead of 10.  Since I’ve started walking to places, I now find myself with a few minutes left over after I get to my destination to get situated and prepared. This is a new and liberating feeling for me. I have to say, this makes me feel like I have all the time in the world for the rest of the day.

 

I wear ugly shoes and I don’t care. There used to be a time where only high heels would make15442220_1830539150556375_4059859951117320897_n me feel like I could be articulate in presenting myself or an idea. High heels don’t mesh well with being a walking commuter. Needless to say, I had to rethink my footwear and found my old Merrell waterproof shoes to be the epitome of all things. They are not glamourous or even cute, but I can safely tackle major hills in any weather.

Walking around in “ugly shoes” taught me that it isn’t what I am wearing that gives me confidence.  True confidence comes from the inside in how one carries themselves.  Pinning my confidence on something that is on the outside of me was false confidence the entire time. Focusing on my true intent, which is always with me but on the inside, keeps me confident in how I make my way through the world.  I think by now I can give an entire presentation in my ugly, but very comfortable and highly practical, Merrell shoes.  Learning present myself and my ideas no matter what is on my feet has been key in evolving my life. It took this journey to make me realize that I was focusing on the wrong aspects of myself.

I continue to simplify what has already been simplified. Now that I’ve been walking to work for awhile, I can’t imagine not doing it. I was calculating the money that I’m saving, as well as all of the less obvious benefits and I began to think of yet even more places that I can walk to and ways to do it easily.

I decided to begin with groceries. I can easily get to several grocery stores within walking distance, but I’ve been driving out to Aldi’s because the quality and price are just worth it. What if however, I took half the monthly grocery budget, shopped one time per month for all of the basics and frozen foods, and then divided up the other half of the budget to be spent weekly on local grocery runs for produce and milk? I did just that and in on fell swoop, I opened up three additional afternoons per week that I had dedicated to Aldi runs. Not only that, I just saved yet another tank of gas by combining 3 trips into one.  Now we are eating fresh local produce and since I’m buying exactly what I need for the week, I usually come in under budget. More money in the bank.

Is there just no stopping my genius?

 

I invest. In my equestrian world, living to ride another day can be partially based upon your equipment.  Your stirrup leathers, your girth, your reins…these are not things that you want to lack quality since they help keep you on the horse.  Craftsmanship is the difference in not only safety, but how often you’re having to repeat those purchases. For many of these things, if you buy them right, then you only have to buy them once.  That may not be the case for walking shoes and cold weather gear, but quality definitely counts.

Since I’ve been walking in my waterproof Merrell shoes, walking in sneakers isn’t going to make me happy. Same can be said for wearing a poor quality jacket when I stay bundled up in my double layer North Face. These aren’t just brand names, they’re companies that produce products for specific outdoor purposes. This is what can be called “gear” or “tools”. Gear should cost because it reaffirms your commitment to continue, and good gear keeps you comfortable enough to want to continue.

I didn’t run out and buy a whole bunch of new equipment for something I just decided to do. Instead, I started small with what I already had. From there, as the season began to change, I noticed that some additional pieces of equipment would be necessary in order to keep me walking.  For instance my next purchase are Merrell boots so to be able to make it through the snow because my current pair is too low cut for a city that rarely plows. I’m also currently researching a nice waterproof backpack for me to carry my purse, lunch, and a change of shoes in.  I’m taking my time, reading reviews, and actually enjoying the process.  There is something to be said about conscious consumerism.  I want my purchase to last me and to be well used in the meantime.

I sleep better at night. Not only do I sleep better from fresh air and healthy activity, I’ve lost an entire pants size in under 90 days. I also don’t get as cold as I used to. By constantly exposing myself to the elements, I’ve built up an even better resistance to the weather than I already had from being a horsemen. My body has literally adapted. If that isn’t the freaking coolest thing then what is?!

I save so much money.  Admittedly, this all began as an experiment in frugality. I was worried about the wear and tear of my truck from constantly driving it such a short distance, which also drains the gas tank much faster than real driving does. Therefore, I wanted to see how long I can stretch a 22 gallon tank of gas. As it turns out, nearly 2 weeks! Thus my gas expense has dropped from $160.00 per month to just over $80.00

Petro aside, there were also incidentals that I ended up saving on such as parking tickets. My city residential tag doesn’t work on this particular city zip code and a $40 ticket is a nice kick in the pants when you didn’t wrap a call fast enough to go move your car after the 2 hour limit was up. For me that equals a tank of gas and I can’t stand spending money on absolutely nothing.

 

I can’t ever see me giving up my walking commute so long as I live in the city. This new practice of mine has opened up new possibilities and given me benefits that I never expected, and they just keep coming!  Even if you can’t walk to work, I hope you will join me in getting outdoors more. No matter the weather. Nature is the ultimate teacher, and if you’re willing to learn then you will be surprised just what you can gain.

 

 

 

15078543_1815069908769966_4256791351315414977_nA conscious evolutionist blogger with a message to lightworkers to pare down and create room to create. Your Divine Life Purpose is needed now, and if you don’t know what it is then ask.  If you do know what it is, then start.

“God’s love is for us all”

 

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