It’s a very stressful week for me at work. There are all sorts of opportunities to work early, late, and through lunch. Today I put on my sneakers at 12:30 and walked out the door for a break even though there was much work still to be done.
I haven’t been on a walk at lunch for two weeks and my feet told me they had to readjust to the orthotics. A familiar ache immediately set in along the arch of my right foot. The breeze was cool and I wished I had brought my sweater so I picked up the pace. The foot protested.
I went past the elementary school, the first time I’ve been by since the kids are back at school, and noticed the adult charged with watching the kids standing in the middle of a swirl of spinning, shrieking, running, twirling laughing children. She was engrossed in her cell. Texting I supposed, or checking emails. It seemed early in the school year for her to be so bored with the children playing around her.
I moved on to the creek that dissects the neighborhood’s condo project. I always stand on the little bridge there for awhile, watching the water flow below me. Today it was clear and swift, full of yesterday’s rain. It’s just a little creek, but I’ve seen lots of people stop and stare down into it on their lunch walks. I wondered why people are so drawn to water.
Onward I noticed that I was still walking fast, my shoulders up around my ears. This was not turning into a restorative walk. Years ago I used to go to a restorative yoga class on Sunday mornings even though it was a 45 minute drive each way. At the end of the session, when we were all lying still, the music soft, the instructor’s voice asking us to relax each part of our bodies I used to cry. Big slow tears would leak from my closed eyes and run into my ears. I was so exhausted from the week and so grateful for the Sunday morning respite. I haven’t been back in many years. Today on my walk I consciously lowered my shoulders and took a deep breath.
At my normal busy day turn around point my body began to turn but my feet kept going. They chose to take the long way back to the office. I was a little late back from lunch. So be it.
Back at work the phone was ringing and I had voice mail. There were two instant messages waiting. And the email problem I was in the middle of solving when I stood up and walked out was still there, along with several others. Nothing was different.
I took another deep breath and began again.