3 Miles Per Hour and The Open Heart

When you focus on any one thing, you start seeing it everywhere.

This week of my own locally walked marathon, yet another long distance walker has been introduced into my consciousness.  First Karl Bushby, now this man:

Paul Salopek’s 21,000 Mile Walk

His dispatch posted in the 11/24/2013 Sunday New York Times (thank you Shannon for bringing to my attention) mentions this comment that has jostled around in my brain:

“Then there is simply the act of traveling through the world at three miles per hour– the speed at which we were biologically designed to move.  There is something mesmerizing about this pace that I still can’t adequately describe.”

Now I am no Pulitzer prize winner, war zone journalist, evolutionary biologist or extensive world traveler as Paul is, but I have had a lifelong compulsion to walk long distances, so I thought I would give a stab at describing the feeling he mentions.


When I walk, I am inhaling and exhaling in tune with my footsteps.  My mind incorporates sounds from a group of birds startled from a thicket, wind, rain, trees bending, hot sun and insects on my skin, people passing.  My heart beats become the center of my place in the universe, and I wholly inhabit that space.  Where I am supposed to be.  My heart feels open to what I encounter.

In comparison, when I drive a car, I hear no sounds other than loud honking of other vehicles or radio and talking inside the car.  I am not aware of my breath.  My skin feels no sensation of sun, wind, rain, and I am unaware of my heart pumping.  I am only focused on getting to a destination, and unless something significant crosses my path to cause me to swerve or stop, I have sights on the road ahead of me and my own anxious thoughts about what I need to do when I get to where I’m going.  My heart is not open to the journey.

Regardless of whether I even start my lifetime dream of walking across the United States, I will continue to honor the folks who are journeying this pace.

Teachers/Educators, please check here for free registration to teach children about slowing down, world history, walking, making maps:

Out of Eden Online Education




About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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1 Response to 3 Miles Per Hour and The Open Heart

  1. Bianca says:

    I had completely forgotten about walking! It’s exactly how you describe it. For me it’s the perfect meditation as I don’t like sitting for too long… Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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