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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Walk This Way

Years ago, I read that exercising without music is like pulling teeth without Novocain. And it’s true. If I’m on the elliptical or strength training, I have a playlist at the ready.

But walking? Even music couldn’t fix the pain of that. I just never liked it. Thought it was boring. Supposedly that and swimming are two of the best exercises because while they do get your heart rate up, they are easy on your joints.

Not too long ago a friend of mine, Linda, asked me to go for a stroll with her so we could catch up. I was more focused on catching up and talking than on the trek. Of course, we talked harder than we walked or at least I thought so, but as we prepared to go our separate ways, we realized we had covered about 4 miles. I was having so much fun I hadn’t even noticed. Somehow that one visit turned into getting together for a outing just about every week. To be honest, I never really even notice the exercise portion of our time together.

People tend to make a big deal about walking. There are tons of songs about the activity. Walking After Midnight, These Boots Are Made For Walking, Walk On By, Walk Like an Egyptian, Walking on Sunshine, and I do have a long list of other songs that I didn’t add here for fear that you might just stop reading. And you might anyway, but I didn’t want to give you a reason on a silver platter.

Strangely enough, the English language is also peppered with clichés about it. We talk about walking on eggshells, walking through fire, walking on air, a walk on the wild side, walking in someone else’s shoes. It’s the part of being in someone else’s shoes that I want to focus on here.

I’ve been out of sorts lately. Short-tempered and irritable, or as Paul would call it, “Wednesday.“ I think my reasons are varied and probably valid, but I don’t like myself when I become snappish and "judgey."

So I've started to try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Maybe the person who’s been riding my bumper like a NASCAR driver has a sick child they need to get home to. Maybe the cashier that was less than pleasant was worried about not being able to pay the bills. Maybe the person who handed out what I perceived as a slight, was merely stressed and focused on something besides me? How dare they?

I was reminded just yesterday of an exercise that illustrates this perfectly. Here goes…

Hold your right hand above your head and point upwards with your pointer finger. While looking at it, move your finger clockwise (to the right) with the movement originating from your elbow - meaning your arm from elbow to finger is all moving clockwise.

While the hand never stops moving in that circular movement, slowly lower your hand down, so that you are now looking at your finger from above. You noticed that your finger is now circling counterclockwise. Nothing changed but your perspective.

We all need to change our perspectives every once in a while. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own little world that I fail to realize that what seems like a major irritation to me is simply someone else trying to live in their own little worlds. So I’m going to at least try to put myself in their situation or even just imagine their shoes as uncomfortable as my own can sometimes be before I jump to any snap judgements. After all, sometimes "Mama just needs a new pair of shoes."

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