Solvitur Ambulando — Latin for “it is solved by walking.” And so I was not surprised when my wife gave me this book as a gift — we love to walk and talk together each day.
A 2014 study at Stanford University revealed that our creative output increases by 60% when we are walking! And this is a wonderful, practical stroll through every aspect of walking, written as an interactive journal to carry with you as you walk.
As Soren Kierkegaard puts it,
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.
Imagine that you are having your routine physical. The doctor checks your blood pressure, your heart rate, and your cholesterol. In fact, she runs a whole range of blood tests. She listens to your breathing, asks about your medical history, and checks for any allergies. And then, she checks … your attitude, your outlook on life. She wants to know how optimistic you are. Are you hostile? Do you carry anger or worry around with you? And before you conclude that these last questions are too personal, let me correct myself. I said, “imagine” a routine physical. You don’t really have to imagine. Paul Costa Jr., former head of The National Institute on Aging said, “personality has to be assessed as a standard part of health work-ups.” Not only good food, but also good thoughts are important for physical, mental, and spiritual health.
And so, what kind of food do we serve our minds? Criticism, complaining, bitterness, blame? With this kind of nourishment, what will grow inside? Probably not hope or joy or patience or optimism. Carefully and thoughtfully readPhilippians 4:8-9.
Finally, brothers, whatever istrue, whatever isnoble, whatever isright, whatever ispure, whatever islovely, whatever isadmirable—if anything isexcellentorpraiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Paul is not simply telling us to do the right thing; he is telling us to do what is right for us.
Ilene Siegler, of Duke University Medical School says that that “hostility is the most health damaging type-A quality.” Carol Franz, of Boston University did a ten-year study of optimistic people and found that, “regardless of how much stress they had to cope with, people high in this kind of motivation had better health.” Then there is the twenty year Duke University study of more than four hundred men and women that found that the most suspicious and hostile people in the group stood the smallest chance of even surviving that twenty year span.
I always find it interesting when the “experts” of humanity reach a conclusion that God has been saying all along. “Think on these things.” “Put it into practice.” “And the peace of God will be with you.”
The Power of Contemplation: “think” Mull it over, repeat it to yourself, write it down, talk about it, sing about it. It was Alexander Pope who wrote; “Some people will never learn anything because they understand everything too soon.” The Power of Selection:“on these things” Not on “those things” but on “these things.” Fix your attention on what is good and change the channel on what is bad. Yes, there is evil in the world, and no, you can’t turn away and pretend it’s not there. But, when you choose your focus, your center of attention; when you select the kind of thinking that you will serve to your mind, choose carefully. The Power of Action:“put it into practice” This is because it’s not meant for my head, but for my heart. Complete life change is the goal. And if my diet is consistent and constant, then the outcome will be unavoidable. My heart will change and my life (practice) will show the transformation.
I remember when my friend Rick, on a whim, applied for a teaching job on one of the Hawaiian Islands. He had grown up on St. Louis, attended college in Missouri and never really expected to get the job … but he did! He was excited and amazed. But after living there for a while and experiencing real life, even in “vacationland,” he wrote me and said, “I’ve learned that ‘Paradise’ is not a place, it’s a state of mind.” Thankfully, Rick knew the Father and he knew what to serve his mind.
Of the eight qualities Paul lists, which do you need the most? Why? What will you do first to give God control of your thoughts?
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Experience a sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. Visit ongoing archeological sites. See the breathtaking vista from the top of Masada. Take a boat ride out on the Sea of Galilee. Enjoy a quiet moment in the Garden of Gethsemane. See desolate mountains, sparkling springs, ancient cities.
And blend each day of travel with a 140 page customized devotional guide that I have written that combines the sites of the day with the stories from scripture.
Whether you have been a Christian a few days or for many decades, this will be a life-changing, unforgettable experience. Space is limited so reserve a spot soon.
June 17-27, 2014 – Fly roundtrip from Dallas, Texas to Tel Aviv, Israel.
I’m not exactly sure how I feel about my thinking on this topic. I’m not sure where I will land. I’m not even sure what to call these wandering thoughts. But I have given a lot of thinking to the subject, so consider this a draft.
It’s not really about artificial light or manufactured energy or propped up activity, although these are certainly on the same team. I guess I might call it “Artificial Time.” This thought comes to me whenever I leave my own culture of extended hours. When I visit my friends in West Africa I quickly notice that our day is more likely to slow down and come to an end when the sun goes down. The time of activity is not artificially extended. We shift into a lower, slower gear. Physical activity gives way to quiet conversations, and eventually to silence and sleep. Yes, there is electricity in the remote area where I visit. And, of course, there is a lot of artificial light in the large city two hours away. But even there, in the capital of that country, I notice that the city lights are dim, as our jumbo jet lands in the evening hours. Not so, in Dallas. When my West African friend, Isaac visited me two years ago, his plane landed at night. His first question had to do with the bright lights he saw from his window as he descended. We discovered that he was referring to the many car dealerships that brightly light up the night sky, not to mention the businesses that proudly advertise “we never close.”
If time were not artificially manipulated, when would we begin our sleep, and how long would it last? When would noise subside and silence carve out an end of the day time of reflection and evaluation? As it is, there is no time to think or reflect. Not only is the time awake artificially extended (which means that the time of sleep is artificially shortened), but it’s not given to thought or creativity. We are not actually thinking our own thoughts. No, we have asked the networks to decide what we should think about, and they, in turn, have been told by the advertisers what messages, themes, values and questions we should ponder.
Last week the power went out at my house. I walked outside and confirmed that the whole neighborhood was dark. There was nothing else to do, so we began to prepare for bed. Then, just few minutes before turning in, the power suddenly came back on. I honestly wish that we had correctly guessed and successfully turned off all the lights in our house, because when they came back on, I gave in to artificial time. I got back up. And I stayed up longer than natural time would have allowed.
I don’t know if artificial time has helped us. Not if we sleep less, reflect and meditate less, and operate on less real energy. Not if we walk and talk less. Not if we sit the same room with those we love having no heartfelt conversations. Maybe its time to have less artificial time.