Walking With Desire: How Walking Can Lead to Finding Purpose
We have all been there before, stumbling about, searching for the right set of answers within a sea of uncertainty. Some of us look in places where there are no answers and often find ourselves discouraged. What if you discovered that they have been walking right beside you all along? And all you have to do is wander with intention, with a desire to see them.
Intention is the reason behind doing something. In the context of walking, we walk so we can get to work, to exercise, to try out new shoes, the list goes on. When cities lack the paths pedestrians need, people intentionally vote with their feet, creating what are called “Desire Paths.” They are shorter routes humans and animals take to get from point A to point B and are defined by a naturally-made pathway. These “desire paths” often serve as reference for walking with intention in our daily lives.
First, let’s talk about cadence. Walking itself is more than just a motor function of the human body, it is a restorative act of the mind and soul, as well. With every step, the force you send out is the force you get back. Imagine walking with anger…it stands to reason that your walking cadence will be more aggressive and rigid, which influences the way you mentally process what made you angry in the first place. Next time your emotions get out of control, choosing to actively slow down your gait will give you time to think through your emotions.
Where we walk matters. A casual stroll through the hustle and bustle of a loud city presents its own set of challenges. Environmental clutter and noise may scramble your thinking. So it is important to find a space where your walk is uninterrupted. A host of studies into the science of walking suggests that spending time in green spaces — parks, forests and gardens can rejuvenate the mental resources that man-made objects strip from you.
Walking organizes the world around us, while reflection gives us purpose. Slowing down your walking also leads to self-reflection. This is where desire comes into play. Thinking about yourself is important — it allows you to crystallize what you want out of life and the values that are important to you. Maybe you strive to provide for your family, perhaps you want to grow closer to your higher power. Whatever your purpose might be, when you transform a casual stroll into a walk of intention, you will find yourself on a desired path.