As you might have read on IG, I recently returned from a silent weekend retreat where I enjoyed a few mindful walks. These turned out to be rather extraordinary experiences, which I’d love to share with you in today’s post.

When do we really walk with our entire awareness?

Probably not when we’re trying to find your way through the supermarket, or when we’re rushing to the bus stop. And when we finally do manage to go out for a proper walk, we’re often so distracted by our inner dialogue (that voice that keeps reminding you of all the things you still haven’t ticked off your to do-list) that we do not even notice our surroundings.

Mindful walking is nothing more, or less, than walking with our entire awareness. During these walks, focus is often brought to the breath, or the steps that are taken.

The calm and inner peace I received from the meditations I’d done during the day, offered a bridge to approaching my daily walks more mindfully. Before I went out, I took a moment to ease into the surroundings; I noticed the temperature of the air, the ground under my feet, and how I felt. Bringing my awareness to my bodily sensations, which I often prefer to do than focusing on the breath, I started walking.

Being aware of the sensations in your body, the outdoor experience transformed into something out of the ordinary. Instead of noticing every individual element as something separate, they all merged into one connected whole.

I heard and saw the wind rush through the tops of the trees. Leaves blown into spirals over the fields that were muddy from the rain. Bird were singing close by, in harmony with the bells from the Abbey I heard in the distance. The wind was blowing through my hair, whilst I felt the heat of the sun touch my skin.

All these things together created a moment, followed by another, and another one.

Aware of each moment, I walked on… as a smiling, silent witness.


PS. More on mindful walking?


Keeping things simple is not really my strong suit, though a clear focus helps to provide me with guidance when things get a little frantic. Which is precisely what happens at the end of the year! My previous post served as a friendly reminder to get rid of all the excess and concentrate on that which really matters. All with the ultimate goal to look back on this year with joy and fulfilment.

I figured out my own destination by realising where I didn’t want to end up, namely the chaos and overwhelm I experienced the past weeks. I was running around, trying to tick off a massive list of to-do’s, resulting in being too tired for the actual fun stuff I did plan. Sounds familiar? Since that didn’t seem like the right way forward, I decided to focus on three mindful ways to end this year:

slow down

Perhaps the hardest of the three is slowing down. I’m not only suggesting you should reduce your overall life pace – it’s a fantastic thing to take fifteen minutes to drink your coffee and have a proper breakfast in the morning – I propose you become mindful of your choices: what are you saying yes or no to?

Is the extra project at work really necessary right now? Can the coffee-date with your aunt’s friend wait? Could you use that time doing something nice for yourself instead (or nothing at all!)? Carefully and consciously choosing will eventually result in you doing less, and therefore in you enjoying the things you actually want to do more fully. It’s super effective!

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listen to your body

Has your body been yelling at you lately, have you listened to it? Mine has, and I haven’t been listening. I eat when I’m stressed or overwhelmed and I have IBS – a far from ideal combination, which always reminds me of what happens when you add vinegar to bicarb.

Big red flags when my skin breaks out and my tummy is expanding to the size of a hot air balloon. When this happens, it usually means I forgot to do all the things that actually make me feel good, like yoga, running, write, calling a friend, eating the right things (!) and spending time outside. Figure out your own red flags. Hear your body yelling. It’s trying to tell you something, so be kind and listen.

bathe in gratitude

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all that which is not going well! I get it. It sure is super tough to keep your head up while you feel your life is not going according to plan, that you didn’t achieve what you set yourself out to do or your circumstances do not yet reflect all the hard work you put into changing.

But you can shine some light on that! Look at what is good right here in this moment, what things did you achieve and what did you learn from putting in the work? Expressing your appreciation for that which is, will elevate your mood. Bathe in gratitude, it works a treat.

Bathe in gratitude, it works a treat.

So here they are, three mindful ways to end the year: slowing down, listening to your body and bathing in gratitude. It won’t come without working to keep these in focus until the last day of December, but it’ll certainly make you look back on this year being super chilled, in tune with what your body needs and deeply grateful…


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