Healing Walks for Hard Times
Quiet Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body & Get Your Life Back
by Carolyn Scott Kortge
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by what life brings us — a career setback, a frightening diagnosis, or the loss of someone dear to us can literally stop us in our tracks, drain our vitality and joy in living, and make us wish for nothing more than for the pain to stop.
Faced with her own aging and a diagnosis of breast cancer, author, award-winning journalist, former competitive race walker, public speaker, and cancer survivor Carolyn Scott Kortge transformed her speed-oriented fitness walking into a spiritual practice. Her eight-week walking program is designed to help restore trust in the body's amazing healing ability, defend against the ravaging effects of stress, and restore the connection to the earth and joy in being alive.
“Walking is a profound tool of healing,” writes Kortge. “When spirits droop and footsteps falter, walking awakens the healing powers of the human spirit, literally, with chemicals that change the way you feel. . . Whether the wound is physical, emotional, professional, or spiritual, a walk can ease the grip of hard times, delivering an antidote to despair. But each step requires an act of faith.”
Knowing how hard it is to get back on your feet when life has dealt a blow that has brought you to your knees, Kortge’s guidance is gentle and compassionate, yet firm. While relaxing expectations for distance and speed, she still demands commitment and regular activity, starting out with 10-minute walks six days a week, and working up to 30 minutes six days a week (the level that meets the surgeon general’s recommendation for health maintenance). Her program also introduces mindful focusing techniques that help to restore balance and wholeness, advice on the locations and gear that will bring the most benefit, statistics that show how walking can help prevent or improve a health condition, and how keeping a walking journal can provide much-needed encouragement.
Though it may take a few days — or even a few weeks — to reach the feelings of delight that lie beneath the discipline of a regular walking program, Kortge assures you that they are there, waiting to lead you into health in body and soul.