Do Like Natasha

This week’s “Do Like Natasha” (in which we explore alternative “modifications” to everyday life) is about exercise.

I can’t afford to go to a gym right now.

So twice a week I’ve been hiking Temescal Canyon Trail in the Pacific Palisades. It’s a great hike.  Just the right length with lots of great up-hill sections for some really nice cardio, and some of the best views I’ve found: the whole city on your left and the Pacific ocean on your right.

And it’s free.

But there’s something about hiking that’s also exceptionally useful for staying sane. And staying sane is the name of the game right now.

When I hike, the swirl of (mostly useless) thoughts and (entirely useless) anxieties that are always loafing about, falls away as I move up the trail.  These are lazy thoughts, you see.  And so they can’t keep up.  Get a little momentum going, and I can always outpace them.

But something else remains in their place – the weightier thoughts, the deeper, creative, spiritual thoughts, which seem to float along with me, like balloons tethered around my waist.  They are good and respectful companions.

Maybe others have had this sensation when running, but when I attempt that honorable sport, my thoughts generally go like this: I hate this I want to stop I hate this.  So I hike.  And leave, if just for an hour or two, my lazy loathing in the dust.

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