Have you slowed down enough to notice that the weather in Paris has shifted? The mornings are colder and darker. The trees in the parks have started to change colors. It feels harder to wake up early in the morning, especially on the weekends. The idea of getting outdoors on a rainy day might not be your ideal. But what if there was more than just rain waiting for you on your simple walk….
What if being outside could give you that moment for yourself, away from all other distractions, a moment to move gently as you release the stress of the week. An opportunity to slow down from the fast pace we all live in and unplug. Mindful walking in a park can be a great alternative to seated meditation. It has the added benefit of being outdoors, which can be an effective way to decrease stress, improve your mood and allow space for creativity.
Walking in the rain
You might think that staying in under the warm covers would be the natural thing to do on a rainy Sunday morning. This undoubtedly was the case for most people the other Sunday when I woke up to the sight of gray clouds covering the sky and heavy rain pouring down. It was wet… very wet outside.
I was wondering if I would have to cancel the group walk that I had scheduled for that morning. I had received a few last-minute cancellations, which I completely understood given the circumstances. I took a few deep slow breaths and packed the muffins I had prepared the day before, a couple of extra raincoats and a thermos with warm tea. I didn’t know what to expect.
While most people may have stayed indoors that morning, a courageous group of women showed up and made my day. They were already waiting for me when I arrived. The mindful group walk was happening despite de rain!
“Can you imagine what a rainy Sunday morning would look (and feel like) if you had the energy, motivation and courage to get out of bed and head outdoors to meet other women living in Paris who want to make that ordinary weekend morning extraordinary?”
The session went even better than expected because the rain slowed down and we were able to enjoy our surroundings. After a week that for many of us had been packed with activities and a long “to do” list, being outdoors was the perfect way to have a moment to pause and breathe.
Read more of Tania Del Rio’s advice for happy, healthy and zen living HERE
The magic of a mindful walk
We slowly got into the right mindset of being present, away from the phone, computers, work projects, laundry or any other responsibility. We transitioned from “doing” into “being” while taking a moment to truly appreciate the nature around us.
It is a real treat to be able to be there and watch the park wake up while savoring the quiet and calm. This is an opportunity to connect to the environment in a completely different way.
Early morning, we can actually take time to not only see but to carefully observe the beauty around us. We can learn, little by little, how certain thoughts will take us away from the present moment and we can train the mind to come back to the now. We can learn to replace judgment with curiosity.
It is powerful to learn how to train our attention to be where we want it to be and to keep it there. It is powerful to be able to let go of being self-critical about the past or the fear of the future. We can learn to train our attention to be fully present in this moment.. one breath at a time.
“Life doesn’t get better than being outdoors early in the morning in Paris while the rest of the city is still sleeping. The light, the air, the quiet and the calm of the surroundings match the peace and tranquility felt inside.”
~ Quote from Happy Healthy & Zen in Paris book
The rainy weather made Sunday’s event even more magical. After the mindful walk, while we were sitting on the grass appreciating the present moment eating homemade muffins and savoring warm tea, I told the group: “This is how we can transform an ordinary Sunday into an extraordinary one.” Everyone seemed to agree and we all smiled.