I went for a walk today.
It wasn’t for exercise although I got that out of it.
It wasn’t to get anywhere specific, although I got where I needed to go (it just wasn’t from point A to point B).
It wasn’t to see anyone or anything in particular although I did see a bald eagle standing at the water’s edge, and a dead seal becoming its own temporary ecosystem up on the dry sand.
No, I went for a walk today because it’s the greatest body- mind-spirit life-hack that there is.
We are built to move, not sit behind a computer. I am personally exceedingly guilty of doing far more sitting than moving, so stretching and walking are vital and invigorating times of the day for me. To me though, the exercise part is a side-benefit of the real purpose.
Walking also ensures that the brain is firing on both sides, equally and rhythmically. The benefits of this are extensive and go well beyond anything exercise can offer.
I first learned about EMDR therapy from a client I was working with. She was a licensed EMDR therapist in Israel who’d written a book in Hindu, had it translated into English, and wanted some help to ensure that it would work well for an English-speaking audience.
Her book changed my life.
You see, I’ve experienced several traumas in my life including childhood molestation, verbal and emotional abuse growing up as well as in my marriage, and was raped twice by my (now ex) husband. Needless to say, I knew I had some things to work out.
Through my 20s, I had gone to several different counselors who each practiced a slightly different methodology. I benefited from each in different ways, but never truly felt “healed”. At best, I was expending a lot of energy trying to catch myself in the moment of a trigger and practice choosing differently.
Now, if you know anything at all about triggers and trauma, you know that catching yourself and choosing differently while experiencing a full-blown emotional reaction, is next to impossible. So, I was still looking for a real solution when my client showed up in my life with her book on EMDR.
Because of her book, I sought out an EMDR therapist that I could work with close to home.
I’ll never forget the opening session with my therapist. As is typical, the first few sessions are mostly about telling your life story so that the therapist can understand why you’ve shown up, and how they can help.
After hearing about my life, my therapist asked me a simple question, “How are you still sane?”
I didn’t know exactly what to say. It was just my life. All I knew was that things weren’t working as well as I wanted them to at the time, and the panic-attacks were growing steadily worse. I wanted to feel like I could breathe again.
I thought I’d work with her for about three to six months like I’d done with all my other therapists before feeling like I’d received all I could from them. Instead, she and I worked together for three years. By time we were done, not only were my biggest triggers gone, but the core foundation of how I make choices and how I feel about life itself went from feeling shaky and scary, to feeling stable and confident.
I knew life would throw more curve balls at me, and I knew that the potential for additional layers of the past to surface would always be there, but now I knew I could handle it.
That’s why I went for a walk today.
Based on what I learned about how EMDR works in the brain, I have come to believe that walking is a very mild, subtle form of EMDR therapy. It helps process the negative emotions OUT while helping weave the positive affirmations IN.
Because walking is a natural way to fire the wiring in the brain, rhythmically, on both sides, it helps the mind process emotions — in a very similar way to EMDR.
NOTE: Walking is NOT a replacement for EMDR. That’s NOT what I’m saying. Working with the therapist was invaluable. She supported and guided me through some incredibly difficult emotions that walking alone would never have resolved. Her skills made the deepest and most profound healing possible. So no, walking is NOT a replacement.
What I AM saying, is that… now that the worst IS healed… walking allows me to process the normal day-to-day stuff that comes up.
I get to feel the sadness, anger, and fear that life brings without allowing it to set in and start to define things. Walking allows the release and helps me think through my options and opportunities.
I also get to feel the happiness, relief, and joy that life brings. I often envision the future I’m creating and repeat affirmation to myself while walking because it helps wire those ideas in, supporting my success.
Walking helps get me present and in the moment as I notice nature around me.
Walking leaves the mental door open for new inspiration to come in.
Walking helps stir the simmering pot of ideas in the back of my mind and allows me to find answers.
So, I went for a walk today.
I didn’t solve the world’s problems… this time… but I did resolve the writer’s block and silently thanked that client again for writing her book.
If she hadn’t overcome her own fears around writing, that book wouldn’t have been written.
If she hadn’t worked through the unknowns around how to write a book, that book wouldn’t have been written.
If she hadn’t followed through on the nudge she felt within her to write a book, that book wouldn’t have been written.
But she did those things. Not only did it change my life, but I’ve heard from her a few times since and learned that her practice has grown to include several therapists. She’s turned her book into a training program as well and is serving her community more and more all the time. And in Israel, there is a lot of historical, generational, and personal trauma to heal.
It’s a growing ripple effect that’s making an incredible and profound difference, simply because she wrote a book.
If you’re someone who has a message to share and you want to write a book, but feel like something is getting in your way, I have resources available that might help. My FREE book, Leverage: Authorship for the New Millennium provides the foundation every author needs to write a powerful book, easily.
What is your ripple to start today?