One of the ways in which I have helped myself during recent low points has been the practice of mindful walking, where instead of walking as the mind spins around thinking on a problem, you try and focus on what you’re experiencing now, in the present. This stops the mind racing and connects you with the moment, allowing any despair and anxiety to take a back seat for a while.
Several years ago, when I was looking at ways of connecting with the ‘nowness’ of the past, I used walking as a method, making lists of things I was experiencing in the moment such as that below.
‘The splash of car tyres on the wet road’ – I can hear the sound in my mind as I read the text; the moment from over 15 years ago suddenly very present.
Reading these lines is a great way of connecting to the past, just as the act of making the lists – of mindful walking – is a great way to reconnect to the present, and to yourself. And by connecting with yourself, to be more embodied, allows you to better empathise with those in the past.
The video below, which I made as part of a Residency in Australia, was filmed in an old lockup. At the time it was meant to represent the idea of recalled everyday moments being a means of reaching from the present in order to reconnect with the past (the present being me, walking around the confines of the cell). Watching it now, I see how it could be interpreted differently, where walking and being mindful of the present, can help one to escape the prison of one’s suffering.