Today I went on the most comfortable walk in the world. I’ve been actively moving toward this for some time. It’s at the end of a combination of efforts.
I walk the same route almost every day. Left out of my front door. Left down the road. Curve right toward the street that goes out of my neighborhood. Straight up past the busy intersection where I’m always on the lookout for people who are not on the lookout for me. Walking under the overpass. Hang a right to walk up the hill in a beautiful park in town. Make a loop. Walk the same way home.
I’ve been planning to walk this route as mindfully as possible someday. It’s turned into a mix of abstract and concrete goals— I wanted to wear everything that would be so comfortable that I would forget that I was wearing anything at all. No part of the outside world would disrupt me through the uniform that I could put on my skin and bones.
So comfort is key.
A few years ago, I found the most comfortable pair of shoes in the world. At first, I wore the ones made out of wool from happy sheep (blue). My second pair is made out of trees (blue). My third pair is on order (purple!). They are unbelievable. You feel like you’re walking on clouds.
Then, I added to that mix the most comfortable socks in the world. They have a cotton bottom, a mesh upper, and a hook of fabric on the heels that prevents your shoe from rubbing your skin. They are wonderfully, notably ugly. And I always wear them as a mismatched pair.
I have worn glasses and contact lenses for eons. A few weeks ago, I finally could afford daily wear contacts. They happen to be the most comfortable contacts in the world.
I spent quite a bit of time researching the most comfortable T-shirt and the most comfortable boxers in the world. After lots of trial and error, I have found them. There are medium length boxers made out of bamboo. They are spectacularly comfortable. Success.
Then after a lot of false starts, I found a company that makes a tri-blend T-shirt that comes to you soft, and the more that I have washed them and beaten them up, the more comfortable they have become. I’ve bought nine pairs of these boxers and 10 of these shirts. I love the shirts so much that I keep giving them away in the name of product testing. I don’t expect I’ll ever get any of them back.
The pair of shorts I’m wearing on this walk today — I’ve had them for almost 20 years. They look the worse for wear. They are my workout shorts. They are my lay-around-the-house shorts. My bicycling shorts. They are my everyone-tells-me-not-to-go-out-in-public shorts. They are the most comfortable shorts in the world.
So from top to bottom, I have finally collected all of the comfort. And today, finally, all of these parts and pieces went with me on my favorite walk around my neighborhood.
It’s a gorgeous day in mid-Michigan. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the clouds look like vanilla cotton candy, and the wind is blowing. The breeze keeps you cool, but it also makes the leaves in the trees whisper to you. Days like this, you almost forget the brutality of winter around these parts when the frost starts to bite.
The goal of all of this comfort I’ve absorbed now is to help me achieve mindfulness on this walk. With nothing to distract me, what kinds of thoughts come to mind?
By the time I get to the park with the hill, I see all sorts of traffic parked everywhere. It turns out this is one of the days where the entire town congregates with little kids learning how to play football or do cheerleading routines. There are probably a few hundred cars parked everywhere because parents have to stay with (or at least near) their kids at these gatherings.
In my mindful state, I hear the words of the cheers wafting in then out of the wind. I hear the youth football coaches shouting out the classic motivational phrases. I see one of the parents from my neighborhood walking toward me. She’s in a hurry, getting her daughter to cheerleading practice just a little bit late.
I make eye contact and high-five the busy mom on her way past. I know I have a few other friends here who have kids here. Through all the action, I don’t know exactly where they are. All the parents and all the kids look a little bit anonymous from a short distance away. The girls all have the same expressions on their faces when they clap their hands together. The boys all have helmets on that are way too big for their heads.
In a state of total, comfortable mindfulness, I can pull in all these details, think about them, and forget them right away.
This is the 15 minutes of my day where I can zone out, let thoughts bubble to the surface, flow into the sky, and then disappear.
Today is a lot like yesterday. Tomorrow will be a lot like today. If I have enough outfits made out of the most comfortable things in the world, maybe I can be mindful forever.