Walking in the sea, mid-January, in La Ciotat, France. Some wore wetsuits, others (as in a man we saw just this morning) wear only an iconic Speedo!
: to clear the mind
Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc read the following French words:
s'aérer l'esprit. marcher, promener, gambader, sont des bons moyens pour s'aérer l'esprit
clear one's mind. (to) walk, walk, gambol, are good ways to clear the mind.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
I've always liked the idea of a "tool belt" when it comes to finding relief from a difficult, tricky, painful or otherwise impossible situation. Number one in my toolbag, or belt, as you well know if you have read this journal for a while, is scripture (bilingual is especially helpful).
The second tool, or outil, I hinted at in the "enchanted" post: a good devotional, or little book of méditations quotidiennes.
And today's tool is the third (hammer? wrench? screwdriver? measuring stick! yes! much more positive-sounding--for we do grow each time we find ourselves gripping for a tool in our trusty belt). Here's that tool, and not necessarily in order of importance (for I have not yet mentioned family and friends--they are essential in our emergency sacoche à outils!)
LA MARCHE - that's it, Tool Number 3 is walking. What I especially like about walking is the multiple benefits that come from the single act of putting one foot in front of the other. Firstly, it is symbolic: it is a stepping forth. We literally cannot remain in the same (stuck) place when we step forth. Alors, en avant!
Then there is the change of scenery which must, if we open our eyes (for who walks with les yeux fermés?) change the picture (sad, fearful, coléreux?) in our mind. Of course it is possible to walk and remain focused on whatever is eating at us. We can literally see right through the objects coming toward us (such as other walkers). But if we refocus, say, on another ambulating soul, in time to glimpse the expression on their face - we realize we are not alone in our emotions.
Yesterday, while researching the topic of walking, The title of a YouTube video caught my attention: Walking and Silence. Here's a man that decided, one day, to shut up or se taire (after thinking he knew everything) and walk across America. It was either this or become a monk. This black man with dreadlocks and I have at least two things in common: as a last-ditch effort we have both seriously considered living in a cloister. Pour toujours! And both of us have come to the conclusion that walking might be a more realistic place to start.
To start to find peace (or enlightenment? or resolution? closure? ...You fill in the blank!).
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I would love to hear about your experiences walking. Tell me all the benefits it brings you, why you do it, where you do it--what you like to do when you're doing it (listen to music? chat with a friend?). Or, if you don't walk, tell me what you do to clear your mind. For that is the word of the day "s'aérer l'esprit). To comment, see the link at the end of this post.
Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino, click here to order
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris...
Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James
Lastly, this book: Meet Peace Pilgrim, who crossed the U.S. on foot seven times with only the clothes on her back to spread her message of peace. She lived off the land and the kindness of those she met, sleeping outdoors, on cement floors, in parked cars and, once, on the front seat of a fire engine in Tombstone, Arizona. Whenever she ran into trouble – from blizzards to black eyes – her sole response was love. order here
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi