Yes, “Widen Your Window” is the subject of this week’s Bookish Weapon so I thought I would play with that idea a little when it comes to hiking.
The author is talking about widening possible responses in times of stress. One of the ways to do that is to get out into nature.
Being in the woods is relaxing. Even when you are pushing hard up the mountain you can smell the wild strawberries, the bark on the trees, and sometimes if you’re lucky, smoke. Yes, smoke! So maybe smoke is one only I would like and a certain kind of smoke.
When I was small I would spend time with my father clearing land. We would dynamite a stump or two and then burn them. The odor from the stump burning is what has stayed with me. So whenever it is in the air it takes me back.
If you are heading for the mountains it means you are not worrying about work or problems. Your mind is focused on the climb. You leave your cell phone wrapped up in your backpack. Yes, I know many don’t, but they should keep it tucked away. Distractions like that are unwelcome in the woods and you will not be widening your window.
Unless you live close to the mountains, it takes a while to get there. This trip helps me detach from my life back home. By the time I am at the trailhead, I am in a different world both physically and mentally.
Use The Exercise
One of the exercises in this book is developing an awareness of the contact between our body and immediate surroundings. She has you sit in a chair for this, but you can do it on the trail. Feel your feet on the ground and the wind on your face.
I think you could even use the trail to release stress. When you reach a quiet spot, take a deep breath and exhale while imagining all of your stress and tension leaving your body. It works great and I have a particular place I like for doing this.
Your window a little narrow? Go hiking!