Or I could say paws for thought given that my two cats are watching me write this – lying on my bed, chilling.  My cats are the perfect reminder of how I, too, need to take time out – relax, be still, find a calmer, more centered mental space. Cats certainly know how to take time out don’t they?!

So that’s what I did this morning.  For the first time in a long time, I took myself off for a walk.  Exercise is so good for mind, body and soul, as well as the body and I always feel so much better for getting out in the fresh air.

Without going into too much back story, I used to run / jog –  it was short 3 miles of movement faster than walking, so call it what you will! I was initially inspired to do this many years ago by my pal, Fiona Thornewill, as she would run 13 miles to and from work when she was in training for her epic walks to the North and South Poles.  Madness in my eyes!  I was all the same very envious of her experiences.  It goes to show what determination and focus can achieve though, and she has since climbed El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park.  That looked very scary! 

I am not about to say I have plans to hit the record books myself; I  just want to get fit again.  Fiona helped me start my running by running with me; we would run and then walk – it was a slow process, and I’m sure she will remember the time I thought it was a good idea to run with my umbrella so I didn’t get wet.  Oh dear! Quite a sight!  And yes, I can hear you laughing!

Those bite-sized chunks of running eventually built up though, and I found my groove. For several years, I used to run the 3 miles home from work – it was as quick as catching the bus too! When I moved house I kept it up, I just took other routes but always running around 3 miles.  I stepped it up when I trained and ran a couple of half marathons.  In retrospect, I did find my happy running place.

The years passed, and I started to combine running with playing squash.  And then I had some joint issues and personal issues that meant my running came to an end, as did the squash.  That was when the gym and yoga made an appearance, along with road bike riding. 

I’m not really a gym bunny though, and have recently cancelled my latest membership as although I love body pump classes, it takes around 2 hours out of my day to go, do the class and come home.

Which brings me (kind of) full circle back to walking.  I’ve realised that what suits me and my lifestyle best is to do exercise that starts at my front door.

We are all different and what suits one doesn’t have to fit with everyone.  So, I’m bucking the need to be herded into a class with loud music, and am heading back into the open air.  I want to start running again so I’m looking back to what worked last time.  This is a great coaching tool / technique – do things in bite-sized chunks, and build up from there. 

I originally thought that I would don my lycra (hmm … not sure that the village is quite ready for that again!) and head out for a run / walk combo, but I had other things that I needed to do, so opted for a bit of leverage so I could get a couple of those things ticked off my to do list.  With this change of thought, I opted for a walk that took me around the countryside close to home.  It’s so beautiful at the moment, with the blackberries (they were tasty) hanging off the bushes, rosehips, and sloe berries, all glistening in the hedgerow.  Horses in the fields as well.  I am lucky to live so close to a city, but still be on the edge of such wonderful countryside. 

I will move towards running again, gradually; and I will get back on my road bike too.  It’s all about making a start.  I did just that today, and with that time alone, I was absolutely alone with my thoughts, connecting with nature, enjoying the peace.

I still have a long to do list to work my way through, but let me leave you with this …

We can all change our approach and behaviour at any given time, if we so wish.  We regularly get stuck in patterns that have been formed and they no longer serve us; it is our responsibility to make the changes we want to see in our lives.  Neural pathways are created which form the ability to repeat behaviour without the need to think, so we need to think to replace those patterns with new patterns – if that makes sense. 

If we fall off track, that’s fine, we can hop back on and with bite-sized chunks of action, we can rework and reshape our lives so that we can feel happier and healthier. After all, that is what we all want isn’t it?  A happy, healthy life that is rich and fulfilled.  A cat’s life even!

Have a wonderful week.