For many managers, everyday life is a mental endurance run. Stress is hard to avoid. Silke Grosse-Hornke knows this all too well. To give herself some balance, she laced up her hiking boots in the summer. Here she reports what she experienced on the Scottish West Highland Way.
You can feel the pressure of the ground on the soles of your feet; you consciously perceive the mild wind on your face; you listen to your own breath. This is how to practice walking as a form of meditation – and if you seriously try it, it’s harder than it sounds. I have known mindfulness as a relaxation method for many years, but in practice it is always a challenge for me to let go and direct my thoughts to elementary things. For me, it is often not easy to find the desired balance in the day-to-day work of a consultant, for example doing sports. That’s why I try to completely disconnect myself for a few days on holiday. This summer I went on a hiking trip on the Scottish West Highland Way.
James Bond’s homeland – not as gloomy as in the movie
We walked the entire distance in seven days, without using shortcuts or going by bus or train. The route leads through untouched nature, through wetlands, along pastures, past old villages and abandoned farms. From time to time deer would watch you walking; sheep and feral goats were grazing on the hills. Before my trip I had read that two locations of the James Bond movie “Skyfall” were on the way. One of them is Glencoe, home of 007, where the hero lures his opponent to the final fight. When I arrived there, the place was grey and cloudy like in the movie, but didn’t look gloomy to me at all.
After about three days of wandering, I noticed how my head cleared. It was not just because of the physical effort, it was also due to my mindful walking, taking my steps carefully and breathing consciously. Back in everyday life, I try to repeat this experience when I make my way on foot. Sometimes it works well, sometimes less. But it is definitely worth trying.
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