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Stepping into Clarity: Unleashing the Power of a Good Walk to Clear Your Mind

Several years ago, I began the practice of walking.  At the time, being very goal oriented by nature, my purpose was to get steps in, and to get exercise in the middle of a workday filled with meetings and lots of time at my desk in front of my computer.  These were neither idyllic meandering walks nor scenic byways; these were basically laps around our rather unattractive office parking lot.  

I’m not sure when these walks became so much more than a way to get my steps in.  Perhaps it was during that very first lap around the parking lot, when I noticed the stately Live Oaks that line the road in front of our office building, or the hawk soaring overhead majestically on wind currents not flapping their wings once.  I began to see this unattractive parking lot in a whole new way.  A crack in the asphalt had a tiny flower sprouting out of it, and this made me smile.  This joy took my mind off my unfinished tasks for the day, the e-mails I needed to send, and how I was going to get it all done, so I could get home to my girls and finally have a nice dinner together.    I was simply in the moment, moving my body and taking my surroundings in.  

Upon returning to my desk, I fell into a ritual where I would close my eyes for a moment and inhale deeply. It was as if those few minutes of walking had breathed new life into me. I felt refreshed, rejuvenated, and surprisingly clear-headed. Little did I know that this simple act of taking a walk would become a powerful tool for finding clarity in my life.

As days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, my walks evolved into something more profound. I found myself venturing beyond the confines of the office parking lot, exploring nearby parks and nature trails. With each step, the weight of my responsibilities and worries gradually melted away. The rhythm of my feet hitting the ground became a soothing mantra, grounding me in the present moment.

Nature, in all its splendor, became my companion on these walks. The vibrant colors of wildflowers and the gentle rustling of leaves in the breeze awakened my senses. I began to give more attention to the intricate details of the world around me—the delicate petals of a blooming flower, the symphony of bird songs, and the dance of sunlight filtering beautiful patterns of light through the trees. Recognizing these wonders before me filled me with awe and gratitude.

With each step, I found myself shedding layers of stress and mental clutter. The worries that once consumed my thoughts seemed to lose their grip on me. In the vastness of the world around me, my worries and tasks were put into perspective.  I reflected that many of them were temporary and insignificant in the grand scheme of life. A wonderful feeling of peace washed over me, and I embraced the gift and freedom of being fully present in the moment.

But it wasn't just the external environment that transformed me; it was also the internal journey that walking facilitated. As my body moved me forward on these walks, my mind began to untangle the knots of confusion and uncertainty. Thoughts flowed freely, and ideas that had been dormant suddenly resurfaced. It was during these walks that I found inspiration for creative projects, solutions to problems, and clarity on important life decisions.

Walking became my sanctuary—a sacred space where I could reconnect with myself and listen to the whispers of my heart. It became a practice of self-care, a gentle reminder that my well-being mattered. In a world filled with distractions and noise, these walks provided a much-needed respite, allowing me to tune into my inner wisdom and find solace in silence.

Over time, I discovered that walking was not just physical exercise, or a way to get my steps in, but a profound metaphorical journey as well. Each step I took represented progress—a step closer to understanding, growth, and self-discovery. With every walk, I uncovered hidden insights and unlocked doors that had remained closed for far too long. The path I treaded became a symbol of my personal evolution, and I embraced it with open arms.

Reflecting on my journey of walking, I am grateful for the transformation this seemingly simple act has brought to my life. It has taught and instilled in me the importance of slowing down and carving out time for introspection and self-reflection. It has shown me that clarity is not something to be found outside ourselves but within, waiting patiently for us to tap into it. Walking has become my compass, guiding me towards a life filled with purpose, authenticity, and joy.

So, I invite you to step into clarity—to embrace the power of a good walk and witness the magic it can unfold in your own life. Lace up your shoes, step outside, and let your feet lead the way. Allow yourself to be fully present in each moment, to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and the world around you, and to listen to the whispers of your soul. In the gentle rhythm of walking, you might just find the answers you've been seeking and the peace you've been yearning for.

Remember, it's not about the destination; it's about the journey. And sometimes, all it takes is a simple walk to set you on a path of transformation and self-discovery. So, take that first step and see where it leads you. The possibilities are boundless, and the clarity you seek might just be a walk away.

Rani Puranik is the EVP & Global CFO of Worldwide Oilfield Machine and the author of 7 Letters to My Daughters