What is the distance between your feet as you walk? Do you take generously long strides or tentative short ones?
What do you think it says about you?
What messages are you sending to yourself?
It strikes me that there is something quite valuable to learn from spending some time observing this simple physical phenomenon.
I find that I take very long strides. I can gobble up distances quickly, especially if my pace is intentionally fast. The other day I wondered why this was. It seems to be my default. But why? And what, if anything, does it mean to me?
I had to sit with these questions.
As you probably already know, sitting with questions can be somewhat uncomfortable. I find I want to know the answers and am not always patient enough to wait. I’m inclined to want to move on to something I can solve.
Well, there’s a pretty big clue for me!
Perhaps one of the reasons I take long strides is because I am impatient. That feels very familiar to me. I think I’ve told myself this before. And this answer seems to link automatically to another insight. It’s the one about ‘running out of time’.
There is an internal time clock running in the background somewhere inside my head. It prompts me to move and suggests I need to move NOW, or risk running out of time to get done what I say I want.
And the clock is connected to a list, identifying all the tasks and accomplishments I seek to complete. Tick tock, time to move and take some more long strides.
It’s interesting to me, that when I take long strides, I find I often lose my balance. Could it get any more metaphorically obvious?
The sheer act of walking too quickly affects my balance.
When I’m conscious of this, I try to slow down and shorten my stride and give myself an opportunity to consider the path I’m taking. Would it enhance my life to be more careful and more patient?
I wonder too, where am I going in such a hurry anyway?
I’m not sure exactly. And this observation feels important too.
I encourage myself to stop and sit for a while and consider. Where am I going and how do I want to get there? And how do I want to feel once I arrive? Each of these questions seems worthy of answering.
So, here’s a question for you.
What is the length of your stride?
Is it slow and thoughtful? Is it just the right amount of slow, or is it so tentative that you risk never arriving anywhere?
Does it vary? Does it change whether you’re going uphill (facing hardships or challenges) or downhill (when everything seems easy, and nothing is out of place)?
I wonder whether, like me, you’ve rarely thought about this. I wonder too, whether now that a seed has been planted, what will happen next for you?
For me, I believe it’s time for some changes.
I’m going to try to shorten my gait and stay in balance more often. I’m going to give myself a break by releasing the inner need to beat the clock ticking away inside my head. I plan on hitting the pause button, so that I can find a new sense of balance, without the misplaced belief that I will run out of time. And I’m going to pay attention to the length of my stride and listen to see if it wants to share a message with me.
2 Replies to “What Is Your Stride”
I had to ponder this quite a bit. I used to take long, quick strides, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to enjoy a slower pace and take in the world, especially when out in nature. I think a lot of my faster pace was anxiety – I had to make sure people knew that I was taking care of things – being a “man” and in control. So, I walked with determination.
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When we are present to our life everything is meaningful. I try to choose this path all the time but often fall off the edge.
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