At the end of December, I committed to completing 100 miles for Suffolk Mind, challenging myself to walking the distance in the 37 days before my 37th birthday.
I’ve been accompanied on each of my walks by tiny human, (3 month old son in his sling), and tiny dog, (our all terrain Chihuahua).
Some days I’ve had other people with me, some days I haven’t.
Some days it’s been difficult leaving the house, some days it’s been easy.
Some days on my walk I’ve seen the sun behind the clouds. Some days I haven’t.
Some days I’ve walked with ease, some days I’ve been in loud conversation with my body.
Some days as I walked, all I’ve heard are the steps of my feet, the sound of breath and the song of birds. Some days the roar of my mind has made these things harder to hear.
Yoga doesn’t always happen on the mat. It can happen in each step you take in the world.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras talk about abhyasa and vairagya – a heartfelt commitment to sustained practice without attachment to the end result.
I sometimes think of abhyasa as ‘showing up.’ Over the past weeks, I’ve shown up for our daily walk. Some days the walk has been short, other days long, but each day we have walked.
When we ‘show up’ for ourselves, I think there is an internal shift. A shift that says ‘I’m worth showing up for.’ Going for a walk every day was a promise I made to myself as part of my own self-care, so I can better take care of those around me. And 100 for Suffolk Mind, was the catalyst for that promise.
As I have walked, with one step taken after the other, the miles have taken care of themselves. And without attachment to any other fruits from our walking, I found myself open to whatever learnings came.
For many of the miles, I’ve trodden the same path and I came to learn that when we are alive to our surroundings, the same walk can offer many different views. What is touched by the light of the sun one day can be cast into mist and shadow the next; there is beauty in both if we look closely enough and are open to finding and receiving it.
No walk on the same path is ever the same twice. Constant change, impermanence – these are things we all live alongside; when that feels overwhelming, sometimes all we need to do is keep taking the next step. Sometimes that is easy, other times it is hard. Sometimes it feels impossible. It might be that we need a little bit of help with our step. For times like that, I’m pleased there are charities like Suffolk Mind. If you’d like to help them in this work, you can find my giving page here: https://giving.suffolkmind.org.uk/giving-pages/catherine-rolfr-100-miles-for-suffolk-mind
I completed my challenge on the 28th of January, three days early. But I’m going to keep on walking.
© Catherine Rolfe Hatha Yoga Teacher 2021