Julia Cameron the world renowned creativity coach who wrote ‘The Artists Way’ recommends walking as an essential practice for anyone who wants to boost their creativity. I wholeheartedly agree with her. Walking works on many different levels, physical, visual, intellectual and spiritual. Physically walking gets us moving and wakes our body up readying us for action. Along with the body getting moving the brain starts to activate and ideas come flooding in, some good, some not, some inspiring, some complaining…walking clears the brain for the wonderful ideas, the big expansive ideas to come visiting, not just the petty everyday concerns.
Visually, walks can be magical. I find early morning and early evening to be the most striking. To catch a glimpse of how the light filters through trees, hits the trunk of a tree or casts interesting dappled shadows is a visual delight. Birds or other animals fly, skip or zoom across my path. The breeze, the smells and sounds of birdsong, all become sensory experiences to inspire creativity.
The writer Brenda Ueland also recommended daily walks as a cornerstone for a healthy creative life ‘My explanation of it is that when I walk in a carefree way, without straining to get to my destination, then I am living in the present. And it is only then that the creative power flourishes.’
There is something special about walking which activates our senses. When our family travelled Australia in 2015 some of the most spectacular places we visited were only accessible on foot (or helicopter!). After walking several kilometres I am sure that the water was cooler and the scenery more dazzling than if we had been dropped in by helicopter. The effort heightens the experience.
I admit I do not walk daily and very early mornings are beyond me. I go as often as I can manage while also accommodating work and family commitments. I am always pleased and pleasantly rewarded when I do.