Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The bronze glow of evening sun reflected from the window across the street. As the sun set, the window's glow transformed to shadows of the trees. The same window changes it's face depending on the time of day. The window might look transparent showing clearly the room inside, or be veiled by a curtain. The evening shadows reflect whatever they are looking at.

As I watched the windows on my walk, I realized that I feel a lot like a window. I often feel transparent clearly letting in the light and warmth, but I sometimes pull the curtains and cool off. Other times I feel like an observer letting everything reflect back on itself. At the moment I feel like closing the curtains. Relax, take time to meditate and enjoy a nice walk.

40 minutes walking

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lark, Hummingbird, or Owl?

I love to walk at sunset. The evening is magical with a kaleidoscope of color reflecting off of the windows, the glowing bronze sky, and cool breezes. The only problem with sunset is that it vanishes into darkness all too soon. Sunset reminds me to enjoy the moment.

My goal is to walk and write a blog everyday, but my best thinking and writing is in the morning and my preferred time to walk is in the evening. According to Katie Gilbert, in her article, “Put Body Clock to Work for You: Early Bird or Night Owl? Accept One and Fly With It,” a Lark thinks more clearly before 8:00 in the morning while an Owl gets charged up after 8:00 in the evening. I use my brain and creativity best from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM. According to the author, people will function best if they can work within their circadian rhythm. I would do well to get a day ahead in my blogging and blog the day after my walk. Using my natural rhythms will help me work happier and more efficiently.

When do you work best? What time of day do you have the most energy? Are you more like a Lark, Hummingbird, or Owl? Take the short quiz to find out.
50 minutes walking

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Listening to an audiobook is a convenient alternative to a conversation in the absence of a walking partner. I'm listening to a story about a writer being stalked by an editor. Great suspense! There is a lot of dialogue so it's light for walking. I can almost imagine the story is set in the park where I am walking.

I like stories about authors. I once wrote a bio for myself as an author with a master's degree. I wrote about myself as the author I wanted to be. Now I have a master's degree, and I am writing everyday. I am a writer. I am still working on the book, but nonetheless I am following my passion. I revisited my vision statement earlier this year and realized I was living my dream. I didn't see it at first. It can be lonely sitting in my office writing everyday, and I don't always want to write. Getting paid for writing is another matter. As my coaching practice grows, I continue to work as Regional Coordinator for CCDA while enjoying walking conversations. I am developing my skills and finding satisfaction in my profession.

20 minutes walking

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Signs of Fall

The evening brought leaves scattering in the breeze. Signs of fall after a week of August heat. In her book, Seasons of Change, Carol McClelland has an exercise where you go for a walk and look for signs of the current season mixed with signs of the coming season. It's an excellent exercise in observation recognizing that as much as we like to hold on to things the way they are, they are always changing. Late August and early September are full of signs of changing seasons. Today was one of those days. The season seemed to change three times in one day. Learning to expect and enjoy change is one of the gifts from nature.

The seasons remind us that change is constant. One of the tenants of a career program called “The Real Game” is, “Change is constant, and brings with it new opportunities.” Sudden unexpected changes can cause distress, especially when we are expecting things to stay the same. Expecting change with its ups and downs, preparing for change, and building resilience paves the path for new opportunities. Losses are the most difficult changes to prepare for and live with. Maintaining a positive network of support and giving to others without fear of rejection will help us recover from the rough spots life brings us. Fall reminds me to shed old or unnecessary thoughts, beliefs, and stuff to freely embrace change.

2o minutes walking.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I would have missed them. About a hundred wads of cotton scattered on the branches of trees overlooking the water. Egrets flying, sitting on the water, and in the trees. What a sight!

My husband is comfortable outdoors, and we have most of our conversations on walks. I was talking, oblivious to all of the sights around me. Seeing trees, people, and dogs are sometimes all that I notice. As we walked closer to the water, I was amazed at all of the birds that appeared. I hadn't seen them the day before.

I've been inspired by my walking partner to enjoy conversations while moving rather than always sitting in a comfy chair or at my desk. I used to feel that the outdoors brought constant interruptions to important thoughts and ideas. Now I can feel the ebb and flow of nature as I stimulate my creativity. Interruptions are natural. Thoughts continue to flow--maybe in a different direction. The new direction may be even better than where the conversation began. As in nature, nothing is lost, it is remade and renewed.

45 minutes walking

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Have you noticed that the same path can be a new experience when you share it with someone? Today I had a wonderful Walk About U! with a colleague. Walking through the park while listening to great ideas, reflections on recent events, and exciting program development, made this morning's walk unique. Walking increases my metabolism, energy, and endorphins while a stimulating conversation enhances my brain cells. Couldn't be a better combination.

Collaborating has so many benefits. We tend to think of our work or job search as a competitive process, but the more we collaborate and affiliate, the better our work and outreach becomes. By collaborating with colleagues I grow my practice, give to the community, and increase my professionalism.

After my stimulating walk this morning, I enjoyed a CareerWell tele-interview on Workforce Development. The speaker, Ron Elsdon, spoke about successful companies that build affiliations and partnerships. Whether we are building our own business or searching for a job that will develop the skills we want to use, creating a partnership mentality for mutual benefit is more important then individual effort alone. Join me for a Walk About U! to improve your physical and mental well-being. Use Contact form or email to set up a time convenient for you.

45 minutes walking

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cup of ice

The weather widget on my Mac Air predicted a high of 104 degrees today. I considered canceling my planned long walk to meet a friend for coffee. Did I really want to face the heat and walk home in the late morning when I would already be feeling the heat? I could easily cancel and take a 20-minute early walk and avoid the heat, but I wanted to see what I could do to stay cool when the temperature was rising.

Walking at a fast pace in 94-degree weather is not really my style. I like air conditioning and comforts over environmental challenges. I realized I’m like that in my relationships also. I don’t like conflict or confrontation. I like things cool, rational, and informative. I find relationship challenges at work, at school, and even at home. My first response has always been avoidance just the way I avoid the summer heat.

Recently I’ve been finding ways to face challenges in my relationships with a positive attitude, communication skills, and putting myself in the other person's shoes. I look for ways to make things better rather than taking things personally. This morning it was time to face the heat. I decided I would carry a cup of ice to keep myself cool. What else could I do to keep cool?

I prepared for the environment by wearing lightweight cool clothing, I got ice for the walk home. Being prepared with ice helped immensely. I walked in shade whenever possible and chose the shortest route home even though I missed my usual sites with the lake and geese. It occurred to me that my strategies for staying cool on a hot walk were a good analogy for keeping my cool in conversations to improve my relationships.

Rather then avoid conversations that might include conflict, I can be prepared by having other positive relationships, like wearing cool clothes to help immunize me against the heat. I can find shade or places where there is agreement and cool down the situation. Finally I can look for a shorter route, a different way of dealing with the situation than using past language that never worked. I can carry a cup of ice or a strategy that will help me keep cool even if the conversation starts to get heated. My cup of ice I carry with me into my relationships is a positive attitude. It has taken me years to figure out how to have a cool cup of ice with me to cool down my feelings. When I start to take things personally, I keep cool by looking at the situation from a different perspective, taking a breather in the shade, and realizing that I can revive myself from too much heat.

After my walk I rewarded myself by taking time to sit under the fan and have a Hebrew National hot dog and sauerkraut. I enjoy a cool lunch on a hot day. In my relationships I can also have little rewards for being a positive force in the relationship rather than letting myself get too hot.

60 minutes walking

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hot August nights

It finally feels like August. The figs are getting sweeter, and I am getting hotter. Triple digits on my short walks today and 90’s for a 20 minute walk. Ok, they were all short walks, but again it was hot!

More later..maybe.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I put off my walk to the store until it was a little warmer than I like. My plan was to leave earlier, but I got stuck looking through the mail. I felt somewhat overwhelmed by reading about all of the needs and requests for donations. Oil laden polar bears, public television, and a survey on trees were all requests for donations. After reading the less than happy news in the paper, and putting aside the requests, I left for the store.

When I got to the store, I found an abundance of fruit, pastries, and chocolate. I love chocolate and pastries, but I made the mistake of looking at the labels. The high calories, butter, and saturated fat made me think twice. I was looking forward to buying the chocolate cookies, but there were so many choices. Then I realized they wouldn’t taste as good as I expected. With that many calories, my expectations were very high.

I decided I would need to choose one thing I really wanted, and then get the things on my list. Because of the abundance of food that looked delicious (and wasn’t necessarily healthy,) it would be easy to spend too much time looking. I knew the temperature was supposed to reach the triple digits, so I should make a decision quickly.

It seemed absurd to have so much to choose from that I have to remind myself to say, “no” and keep walking. I didn’t need cookies at all, but I felt a little disappointed to not get any. My difficulty making a decision in the face of so many choices reminded me of Barry Schwartz book called, “Paradox of Choice.” After having difficulty deciding between so many jeans when he went shopping, he decided that too many choices led him to paralysis rather than liberation.

Having freedom of choice is important to me, especially time freedom.  But too much freedom led to a hot walk home. I really like being able to eat what I want to, but I’m quite confident that an over abundance of food choices will lead to health problems if I don’t apply some discipline. Maybe I would be happier if I helped even more people who have nothing here in the U.S. as well as other parts of the world instead of doting over food choices. 

60 minutes walking

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Grateful for my feet

I find that Sunday is often a day for reflection, thankfulness, and gratitude. I've learned to have an "attitude of gratitude" most of the time, but I have periodic lapses into taking the good things in life for granted. I wasn't born cheerful and optimistic, but I was blessed with a mother who has a cheerful disposition.

This morning I read the news that one fifth of Pakistan is under water. At our Sunday service, I heard about the 2,000 caregiver kits that Rwanda requested for children and families devastated by the Aids epidemic--none were sent. I looked at the basic supplies that were being sent this week in 1,000 kits. Things we take for granted like soap, a flashlight, and Vaseline.

As I went for a short walk this evening, I thought about how thankful I am for my feet. I can walk, share a conversation, and enjoy caring relationships. I have the ability to bring happiness into my life and bring a glimmer of hope to others. Keep walking and have happy feet!

20 minutes walking

Saturday, August 21, 2010


“It feels like fall this morning.” That was all I needed to hear. The anticipation of going out on a cool or even cold morning quickened my step.  The fall like morning was even better than I had imagined. The overcast sky and the cold air welcomed me as I stepped outside earlier than usual.

The sky was a mixture of gray clouds with sprinkles of white on the edges. Small patches of blue showed a slight glow from the rising sun. It looked like rain, but it was August. It doesn’t rain here in August. If it had been September I might have thought about an umbrella, but it doesn’t rain in August.

Because it was still summer, I expected the clouds to blow away and the sun to bring in a pleasantly warm day. As I looked at the heavy clouds in the sky, I thought about my expectations for the day, the week, and the year. I also have expectations for my family, my spouse, and my friends.

As I neared my house the clouds were beginning to clear. The trees in the distance glowed from the morning sun. In a matter of minutes the morning looked completely different, changing from dark clouds to bright sunshine.  I couldn’t predict the weather from looking at the sky. I had plans, meetings, and friends to see. What would I bring to this day?

I was reminded again by nature that I never really know what to expect. Rather than basing my joy on the expectation of events the environment or other people, I can bring out the sunshine anytime and make the day brighter for everyone.

25 minutes walking

Friday, August 20, 2010

Walk Don't Wait

I sometimes take relaxing walks just for the fun of it, but more often I like to have a purpose and a place to go. If I am in a hurry it is even better. I like to walk to meet someone, go to an appointment or job, or have a cup of coffee.

Today I took a nice walk to the coffee shop to meet my sister. After my appointment I could have just hung around and waited, but I hate waiting. It's so much more fun to walk--especially when I have a destination. As I anticipated a pleasant conversation with a good friend who just happens to be my sister, I thought about the many times that it is so much better to walk than to wait.

Waiting for an elevator is boring when I can just walk up the stairs. Why stand in one place while waiting for a bus or carpool? Walking, stretching, or even pacing is more interesting than just waiting. I enjoy walking past a few bus stops or taking a detour to take in the cool morning air. After walking at a fast pace down the main street of Old Town, seeing the shops I hadn't noticed before, a Fire Station, and the always familiar golden arches, I enjoyed relaxing with a Chai Tea Latte.

20 minutes walking

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wouldn't Have Done It

I wouldn't have walked this evening if I didn't have this blog. I made a commitment and set a goal, but that wouldn't have been enough to get me out on a warm evening. Making a commitment and writing down my goals was important, but I needed to be accountable to someone else to reach my goal. Will I be able to walk everyday for a year? I'm not sure. But if I miss a day it will be here in living color for myself and all of my readers to see.

If you are like me, and need accountability to keep walking, follow this blog, make comments, and Contact me for a Walk About U!

Tonight it is 83 degrees, and feels like 95. I'm off to sit under the fan, have some salad, and refreshing tea (green tea, lemon balm, mint, and local honey.)

60 minutes walking

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Before my walk today, I was pulling out a few weeds in the square foot garden. Why is one plant a weed while another plant is desirable? The mint plant grows like a weed, and it can choke out other plants, but I cultivated the mint in the garden. Rather then being an undesirable weed, mint is refreshing, soothing to the stomach, and may even help with allergies.

When one plant begins competing with another plant you cultivated, it chokes out the beneficial roots of the one you wanted. Although the mint plant has many healthy qualities, it will overcome the other plants. I had to move the mint plant to a separate planter to give it room to grow. The undesirable weeds that have no benefit were removed.

As I was weeding, I was thinking about all of the things in my life that squeeze out my time and energy for the things that are most important to me. I can have relationships that get too competitive and take away from my strengths. Sometimes I need to create space and not hold to closely to a relationship that is smothering my light and growth. I have things in my home that accumulate and crowd out the things that are most useful to me. I can even hold onto beliefs that are no longer helpful to me. I sometimes don’t realize they are weeds until I clear them out and realize I have so much more room to breathe. 

60 minutes walking

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Good Habits

I've been walking 20 minutes to over an hour everyday for the last 31 days. I am building healthy habits one at a time. I've made walking everyday a habit. I'm working at eating healthier. For the next month my goal is to conquer my sweet tooth and spend at least 5 minutes clearing my mind in meditation. Seems simple, but good habits take time to develop, and need constant attention to keep up. I value time freedom, and I don't like to follow a schedule, but my freedom has led to some unhealthy habits.

I've been using this blog for accountability to keep walking, and I will use my "Good Habits Record" to keep track of the good habits I am developing. I need tools for accountability to build good habits while things are going well. I find that developing healthy walking habits is easy while the weather is nice, we have cool morning breezes, and sunshine. But healthy habits help me build my stamina for when the rain and storms come.

Practicing a healthy lifestyle and building supportive relationships create the resilience I will need to get through the tougher times. Change happens. I plan to be ready for it.

50 minutes walking

Monday, August 16, 2010


Walking through the neighborhood, I noticed a man watering his lawn by hand. He seemed to be enjoying the simple pleasure of caring for the grass. Most of the neighbors have automatic sprinklers and garage door openers. They busily go from work to home. We see only glimpses of them pulling into their driveways or checking the mail.

Before I went out for a walk, I was watering the vegetable garden by hand. I was thinking, as I often do, about how watering is a form of nurturing. The water gives nourishment, refreshment, and life to the plants. Although watering can be refreshing, I water by hand because we don't have an automatic drip system yet. I squeeze in some hand watering in the morning between my walk and my work. Watering at random times in the morning, I put it off until it is almost too warm. It is an important responsibility that can't be missed, but isn't always enjoyed. On the other hand, there are mornings when I relax, look for vegetables, and enjoy the spray coming from the nozzle of the hose. When I take time to enjoy the simple pleasures, I actually enjoy watering. Often I just don't take time.

Tending to relationships is not so different from tending the yard or the garden. Some people enjoy the companionship of friends, family, and children while others find taking time for relationships an important chore to fit in the schedule. Others get so busy they put their relationships on automatic and just check occasionally to make sure the system is operating correctly. It's too easy to put relationships on automatic until we have time to get to them.

This afternoon I walked around the zoo with my daughter and 4 month old grandson. We watched the animals, listened to the birds, and watched the baby's lips curl into a smile for no reason except that I smiled at him. He won't remember the trip to the zoo, but he'll know his Nona. We are developing a lasting relationship. Like watering the seeds in the spring, nurturing relationships takes constant attention to mature.

Walk outdoors, take time for relationships, and enjoy the simple pleasures.

20 minutes walking

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thank You

Thank you everyone for your support in person, in emails, and comments on the blog. I've posted several replies that seem to have been lost in cyberspace. I appreciate your interest in walking, the outdoors, and enjoying the beauty of nature. Keep walking!

Evening Meditation

Pink sunset
Cackling birds
Leaves rustling in the trees

Quiet meditations
Evening walks
Sun sinking on the water

Deep breaths
Fresh air
Night falling all too soon.

40 minutes walking

Saturday, August 14, 2010

To do list

10 things to do instead of walking:

1. cook breakfast
2. finish some work
3. write a blog
4. check Facebook
5. play with dogs
6. water the garden
7. hang out with the family
8. eat
9. clean
10. pray

Ok. I did all of those and still went for a walk. Benefits of walking:

1. Feel better
2. Look good
3. More energy
4. Better Health
5. More fun!

30 minutes walking

Friday, August 13, 2010

Murky Water

Ducks sat in a row as they groomed, conversed, and watched the lone duck swimming in the murky water. In the spring the water was blue, clear, and flowing. The ducks quacked, swam, and worked their way around the water. Seasons change, the environment changes, and the ducks adjust. A single duck maneuvers through the muck. From a distance it looked like he enjoyed the adventure. I was walking, so I didn't stay around to see if the other ducks joined the swimmer.

Watching the ducks made me think about the different ways we handle challenges. I must admit I would rather sit on the log with my friends and wait for the muck to clear before diving in. But someone needs to gently stir the waters and clear new paths when seasons change. We see the ups and downs of the stock market, economic upturns and downturns, and jobs come and go. It would be nice to croon in the sun and wait for the waters to clear, but I want to be an agent for positive change. I want to be the little duck swimming in the muck, stirring things up, and clearing the way to a free flowing lake.

The free flow of ideas, creativity, and ingenuity are the things that make my work worthwhile. Sharing and caring about people who are sitting on a log waiting for something to happen, I can help them take the leap into the muck and create positive change for themselves. If you are ready to take action, then take a walk, and stretch your muscles. You can build resilience that will pave the way for adventures you never imagined possible.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goal Setting

Some of you walk or even run when it is 100 degrees out. I find it very difficult to make myself walk in the heat. Today I had things to do in the morning and a meeting in the evening. I found myself walking in the afternoon. I thought it must be at least 90 degrees. Got home and found out it was only 85. Ok. You can see that I love to walk on a fine cool morning, and don't like the heat. I'm sure I would have skipped it today if I had not set a goal to walk everyday.

My goal in writing this blog is to walk and write everyday for a year. When I started my goal was just to walk. Now I am making my goal specific and reachable. This blog provides accountability, and I will know when I have reached my goal. Since I have been walking, I have a little more bounce in my step, and I am writing better because of the daily discipline. I have a short term goal of walking each day as I hone my writing skills. My longer term goal is to publish a book and 2 workbooks in the next year as I grow my coaching business. If I find a day when I can't walk for some reason, I will be flexible, not give up, evaluate my goal, and keep on going.

Thank you everyone for your comments. I love hearing from all of you. Nice to know that so many of you are walking and enjoying the outdoors. For more information about taking a walking conversation with a LifeWork Coach, contact Nancy Miller, M.S., LifeWork Coach, Credentialed Career Manager

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Quiet Moment

It’s not uncommon for people to ask me why I would want to meditate. What is the value of clearing my mind? If my mind is full of old ideas, things to do, fears, and concerns, then where will my mind find room for new perspectives and growth? It felt freeing to let go of things that were on my mind. I actually enjoyed my 5 minutes of meditation before my walk

As I walked around the little lake, I could see that a thin layer of deep green algae had formed around the edge of the water. I looked across the water and saw very little of the clear blue water I have come to enjoy. Instead there was what appeared to be a golden blanket with a little strip of blue peaking out. The blanket covered the still water as it sat languidly in the sun.

I couldn’t help but compare my cluttered mind to the fuzzy golden blanket covering the lake. Just as I had let my mind become crowded with “shoulds,” “coulds,” and “maybe thens,” the lake was filling up with its own covering. Just as the lake needs to move and flow to sparkle against the blue sky, I need to allow my mind to clear out and flow with new ideas.

60 minutes walking

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Slowing Down Time

Before taking a walk today, I spent 5 minutes in meditation clearing my mind of thoughts, plans, and worries. I remember a time when I had disciplined myself to spend 30 minutes in meditation. Today five minutes seemed like forever. I must have spent several seconds in relaxing meditation, and then my mind was all over the place. I know the value of meditation for my health, creativity, and relaxation but it's been difficult to get back in the habit. It's worth the effort.

Taking time to walk outside and watch the still clouds that seem to have a peaceful quiet language, reminds me that there are more important things than those that I am filling my mind with. Walking with my dog for 40 minutes while having a nice conversation sent the time flying. It seems like as the days get shorter the time just flies by. I will look forward to spending more time in quiet meditation to slow down time.

40 minutes

Monday, August 9, 2010

Obstacles in My Path

As I started my walk I wondered what I could possibly find to write about today. I took my usual path down our street. Then I came to the annoying motorcycle our neighbor has been parking in the middle of the sidewalk. To make matters worse, he parks his car on the street next to the motorcycle. Should I squeeze through the narrow passage or walk in the street to go around? I might ask him to move it, but in the past I haven’t had good experiences with polite requests to conform to my idea of neighborliness.

I decided to put on my good attitude and squeeze between the vehicles. I can either be annoyed or decide it doesn’t bother me (although I had to admit that it did.) As I crossed the street I realized I could go down a different street. I always walk the same way without thinking about having other options, so I just keep pressing through.

I made the motorcycle an obstacle when it was really only a challenge to think in a different way. If a dog was running at me ready to take a chunk out of my arm, then that would be an obstacle. An object in my path is only a challenge to my normal routine.

30 minutes walking

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Deep Listening

Last week I walked to the Tofu House to meet a friend. We hadn’t talked in person in about a year, but we always connect immediately when we get together. We seem to have enough common threads to listen, give some suggestions, and share personal experiences. You might say we communicate at the surface level and then have a deeper conversation. Good friends can often get beyond their own interests in the conversation and listen to a friend. At this level where most friends converse, each person is thinking more about what they are going to say than about the meaning behind the other person’s words.

Today after a long walk, I had fun getting together with my sister to go shopping. We had errands to run and things to do. We talked and listened at the surface level. We talked about what we needed to do and where we wanted to go. We accomplished everything we had planned to do. We talked and listened at the surface level because that was what was needed.

We have conversations everyday with friends and acquaintances. We usually say hello and share a little news and information. Most of our conversations are at the surface level. Occasionally we are fortunate enough to have a relationship with someone who cares enough to have a deeper conversation. They take the time to listen. A deeper conversation with a good friend would include listening, sharing, and caring what the other person has to say. At this level, most of us are thinking about where we fit in the conversation, what advise we have to give, and what does this have to do with us.

A “Walk About You” conversation with a personal/career coach would be at the surface level conversation and deeper listening. You can take a walk while talking on the phone with a coach who cares about what you have to say. Walking while talking to a LifeWork Coach will increase confidence and communication skills.

If you find that you would like to go a little deeper, you can hire a LifeWork Coach to take the conversation to the next level. As a professional LifeWork Coach I have been trained in deep listening. Deep listening goes below surface listening to caring about who the person really is. As author of “The Fifth Discipline” Peter Senge states it:

“Deep listening is beyond the conversation. Listening to who the person is underneath the conversation is deep listening. You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is. Ears operate at the speed of sound, which is far slower than the speed of light, which the eyes take in. Generative listening is the art of developing deeper silences in yourself, so you can slow your mind's hearing to your ears' natural speed and hear beneath the words to their meaning." [Huffington Post - Jul 12 2010]

Walking outdoors provides so many opportunities for listening. Opening your ears to the many voices of nature will help alert your senses to what is below the surface.

To learn more about the benefits of LifeWork Coaching and Deep Listening, contact Nancy Miller, LifeWork Coach.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Dry Walk in the Rain

It was getting warm but not hot when I started out on my walk on this August morning. I couldn't find the podcast I was looking for, but I came across one of those subliminal relaxation programs. I thought it would be a little odd to take a walk in the summer listening to the patter of rain accompanied by intermittent claps of thunder (I'm in California you must realize.) I decided to give it a try. I was walking on a shaded tree lined path next to a dry creek. I wondered if it might feel cooler if I listened to rain.

As I heard the rain and thunder, I realized that a rain storm usually makes me feel a little restless, but I only occasionally take long walks during a thunder storm. I felt a little more energy and the breeze felt a little cooler as the dry creek seemed to fill with water from the rain. I never thought the sound of a thunder storm was very relaxing, but a long walk in the dry rain is a great way to use the restless energy from hearing a storm.

In her book, "Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being," Esther M. Sternberg, M.D.describes studies that demonstrate the importance of environment for health, healing, and well-being. The sights, smells, and sounds we take in have a profound affect on health and mood. When we perk up our senses with new experiences and environments or just find ways to make the same old path more interesting, we are healthier and happier.

Try a dry walk in the rain, a conversation with someone new, or look for something you hadn't seen before in the same environment. Enjoy your walk!

40 minutes walking

Friday, August 6, 2010


We just got a new security door for our entry. It's a nice white design with a black screen. As I was taking my walk, I wondered what kind of doors people were using. I realized I have never paid much attention to doors, although they either welcome or block people from entering. Doors come in a variety of colors and shapes. Some have big handles and double doors that seem to shout, "Come in!" Other doors are recessed and barely visible from the outside of the house. Patios, eaves, and porches often give some protection against the elements. Security doors screen out unwanted guests while bars act as a barrier to the outsider.

What kind of door do you have to your home? Does your door look like an open invitation or a "Do not disturb sign?" Does your door reflect your openness to others? I wanted a door that screened out unwanted guests but didn't bar people from coming in. I'm kind of like that in my relationships. I like to get to know someone before I open the door to my heart and my home. It's too easy for me to keep the screen door closed and then wonder why I don't have any visitors. Walking outdoors, feeling healthy, and saying hello to my neighbors brings out my friendly good nature. Today a neighbor said hello and asked me how my family was. How pleasant!

Having a walking phone conversation and sharing ideas with someone you are not familiar with is a great way to stay motivated to walk while improving your communication skills. How much do you want to let people in, and how much protection do you need? Let's talk about it. Contact Nancy by email to set up a walking phone conversation with a professional coach.

30 minutes walking

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cool August mornings

Cool August mornings in Sacramento. What a surprise! The cool breezes and cold air are perfect for walks. I enjoy being outdoors in perfect weather. I’m comfortable, energized, and inspired. What could be more fabulous!

Actually I’m wondering if our produce is enjoying this beautiful weather as much as I am. While I’m basking in comfort, the figs aren’t ripening and the tomatoes are a little more pale than usual.

Could a little discomfort actually be good for growth? I can work away in the comfort of my office while my legs get stiff and my neck is tight. If I really want to enjoy myself I’ll have a crunchy sweet or salty snack and clog my arteries while I’m at it. But is all of this comfort creating personal growth and long-term health?

Now walking in perfect weather has it’s perks and the health benefits are there. Actually getting a little too warm, breaking a sweat, or taking myself a little farther than I would like to go builds stamina and character. A little stress is healthy (eustress) while too much at once is not (distress.) So I am really working on having balance in my life with more frequent smaller and healthier meals and exercise to build myself up rather than stressing out.  Understanding my values and what is really important to me will help me push myself in the right direction.  

60 minutes walking

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Special Treats

Nice walk today to get a special treat. I enjoyed walking to the yogurt shop on a warm afternoon. A nice conversation with a friend made it even more pleasant. Occasionally I take a walk to get a treat which makes it special.

I hear advertisers tell us there is always an excuse to have a treat. If I had a frozen yogurt or latte everyday it would be something I would take for granted rather than a treat. When treats are too available it's easy take them for granted and over indulge. A special treat is something I have to wait for.

Walking to get a treat gives me a little exercise, delayed gratification, and makes a treat special.

20 minutes walking

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Today I felt like I could easily skip the walk. In fact I waited until it was almost too late, but making walking a habit helped me get it done. My goal was to write everyday, and I also wanted to do more walking.  So I decided to start the Walk About U! and invite others to walk with me or share their outdoor walking stories.

I wondered how I would find something to write about everyday, but I am amazed at how I am able to think of so many things to write about everyday when I walk. The habit of writing regularly, being outdoors, using my senses, and changes of environment has wakened my creativity. It really does help to write regularly whether you are a writer or not, but the practice of writing is even more important for anyone who wants to publish their work.

20 minutes walking

Monday, August 2, 2010

What do you hear?

The things I hear or don't hear depend on what my ears and mind are tuned in to. Often I hear the things that are loudest or that I am most interested in. Today I started my walk and heard machines, cars, and dogs. Then I wondered if there were sounds I was missing. I listened again and heard the breeze blowing in my ears. I had never before noticed the sound of a breeze. A wind whistling through the windows is hard to miss, but a soft breeze flowing past my ear could easily be lost. Without tuning in to the subtle voice of the breeze, the birds and the rustling leaves, I could easily miss the most beautiful sounds. When I really listened I could hear the quiet between the cacophony of sound.

It's very easy to miss the whisper of a loved one or the sigh of a child. The body language, the facial expressions and nuances are often lost in the noisy busyness of everyday life. Listen again. What do you hear?

To practice your listening skills with a professional personal/career coach, contact Nancy for a walking conversation about you.

110 minutes walking

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Color Your Day

A river flowing, paddles rippling through water, and a tug pulling a boat. Sails were flapping as I soared through my walk. It is a well worn path I often travel on paved streets, under shaded trees and through bright sun to a destination that I am all too familiar with. I can feel the sun on my back as I watch random leaves falling from the trees. My senses are alert but not captivated.

A picture comes to my mind of a coloring page I recently printed out that depicts a river making a path past trees and through the hills. As I looked at the street I saw a flowing river instead of a road. A man raking his leaves appeared to be rowing down the river using his rake for oars. I saw a dog walking a woman, and I pictured a little tug pulling a boat. "What else do I need in the picture?" I asked myself. The leaves swaying above the trees were the perfect sails for gliding along my path.

There are so many ways I can color my days. When my day feels dull and ordinary or I feel feel a little down, I can add color to my day. When I need a new adventure, I use my imagination to add new colors to the scenery. Color can brighten or dull my senses and make an ordinary day extraordinary.

Take a Walk About U! and color your day.

30 minutes walking