Yesterday I was faced with a delightful conflict: go outside for a hike or stay inside and tackle a huge laundry pile, a stack of dishes, the task of digging out winter clothes and catching dust-bunnies that were starting to jump out from under the bed and corners of the rooms. A messy environment leaves me feeling overwhelmed and consequentially stressed. These physical "to do lists" tug at my attention like a dog begging for food. Not enough exercise and lack of fresh air has the same effect on me. How could I have both in order to find a clear mind and a strong body? I needed to create balance but I don't like to only do a "little bit." I crave the sensation of being fully immersed in an activity. Only then can my mind and my body align and flow together.
So I pulled my hair back, opened all windows and started hiking the laundry pile. I got in more squats with the up and down of putting laundry from the floor in the washing machine than I would at the gym. I sprinted from room to room to pick up stray socks and clothes in need to be washed. I sprinted up and down stairs faster than I ever would make it up any mountain trail. I especially enjoyed not having to wear shoes. My feet felt strong and I appreciated the change of texture between hard wood floors, area rugs and carpeted stairs.
My favorite part of this "hike" was the four-legged climb, a horizontal scramble. On hands and knees I was able to catch every dust-bunny, wash floors and baseboards. I remembered the delight of my kids when they learned to navigate their world on their hands and knees and bellies. I envisioned the part of a hiking trail that requires scrambling, pulling and pushing uphill with both hands and feet. This is my favorite way of hiking. It reminds me, as a physical being, that our nervous system is still wired for four-legged locomotion.
Our brain and therefore our body, experiences ultimate support and the sensation of being grounded when both hands and feet directly connect with gravity.
8 hours later my laundry was folded, floors and shelves were clean and I was physically tired. I don't think I would have engaged in an 8 hour hike on the mountain on a day when the physical to do list was nagging at my thoughts.
After yesterday's hike up the laundry pile I now look forward to a "real hike" with a free mind and a clean house.