Most folks I’ve talked to quickly get it that “Walk Your Why” is a play on the phrase “Walk Your Talk”, but unless you know me, you wouldn’t know the word “walk” means so much more to me than a mere rhetorical convenience! I hope this post (and my work in general) will give this word and phrase more meaning for you as well!
Simply, I love to walk! How wonderful it is to step out into the World and move at a deliberate pace – S—L—O—W – that allows life to actually come into focus! Sadly, it seems somehow crazy to suggest that slowing down can be vital to living a meaningful life, in the context of the “get rich quick”, “don’t slow down or you’ll get run over” society we now live in. And seems almost heretical to suggest that the highest resolution available – contrary to commercial wisdom – is not to be found in the latest, greatest Ultra High Definition TV, but rather by opening one’s eyes to the crystal clear, omnidirectional vision we’ve been gifted with – and taking that vision for a walk. When I take my vision for a walk – when I walk my why – I am open and curious and connected with the world around me, empowered to really go places! Places that really matter! I have no interest in zipping through, living life as a blur. I want to experience it in splendid full color, in exquisite focus.
Of course, even those with little or no eyesight can have tremendously clear vision. I have a cousin and mentor who exemplifies this truth in magnificent ways. His story is one I may share another time, but surely we are all aware of such visionary individuals: Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Trischa Zorn, just to name a few. Likewise, having fully functional legs is not at all necessary to walk your Why. Franklin D. Roosevelt sure didn’t let it stop him! Nor have countless others. In case you somehow think your particular condition exempts you from walking your why, that’s one thing you’re wrong about… Thank goodness, life doesn’t let us off the hook for anything!
I love walking in nature, where I am inspired by: the earth that seems to heal my feet and my feelings as I walk; the trees that show me how to stand firm, yet flexible, in beautiful commitment; the animals that remind me of my own playful and profoundly-connected nature; the fresh air that awakens me; the fragrant flowers that stimulate my senses; the changing sky that sparks my creativity;… There are endless inputs that flow naturally, effortlessly, gracefully – not causing distraction, or tension, or numbing, as would the incessant signals of TV or computer, but rather serving to center me and get me grounded in what actually matters; remind me of what I value most in my life. Just writing about this makes me want to hop up and walk! Yet, I also know that writing is a way of walking my why!
Though nature seems always to call me (no, not always that way), my vision is expanded wherever I walk. Surely there are places I prefer not to walk, places where I feel uncomfortable, or insecure, or ill-prepared, or uninterested. But each step I take, regardless of where I am, opens up a new perspective and a new opportunity for me to see in a clearer, more honest, more compassionate way. I simply love to walk!
Energetically, walking gives me physical and mental energy for my day. I’ll admit, I do not naturally wake up stoked to go to the gym. Such thoughts, mysteriously, tend to put me back to sleep. The thought of taking a stimulating walk, however: that gets me going!. Even if it might including dancing in the rain, or sloshing through the snow. So, walking is my primary source of regular exercise. When walking for fitness, I take paths that include some challenging hills, a quickened pace for certain stretches, and reasonable distances; but I always include time to reflect and really connect with my surroundings.
And I certainly don’t limit my walks to fitness walks. I seek to step outside as often as I can, even if only for a brief mind-clearing tour around the neighborhood or body-stimulating trip up several flights of stairs. And even when working away at my computer or scratching thoughts onto paper, I get up regularly to stretch and move, taking steps of rejuvenation around the room, gazing out windows to let the outside flow in and clear away some of the static. I think I’ll do that right now! In fact, this is a perfect time for a five minute jaunt outside to refresh!
Ahhh! Now, where was I? … Oh yes…
Philosophically, to walk my why is to step forward into life with embodied purpose – aligned with the essential reason I am called to walk this Earth. The literal, physical act of walking is a fundamental way by which I express, and live, and fulfill my Why. It’s not just a turn of phrase: I really do walk my Why! Of course, my path has its share of hazards, and I surely sometimes stumble; but moving forward in life requires taking intentional steps, and the best way I know to do this is to walk my Why!
Finally, it’s definitely not just about the physical act of walking! Importantly, there are many other ways I walk my Why. As with the phrase “walk your talk”, “walk your why” implicitly refers to any and all ways that an individual demonstrates the behavior, intentions, and results that are in alignment with their core purpose, the essential reason they exist on this planet (whether they’ve claimed it to others or not).
There is so much more I could say about the joy and fulfillment I receive from walking my my Why, and my way forward is constantly unfolding; but perhaps, like me, you are feeling the need for an invigorating walk! I hope the path I’m forging helps inspire you to walk your Why!