Leaving Yourself Behind

Life is full of surprises when you show up somewhere and leave yourself behind. winter walk

I used to believe that I didn’t enjoy walking outside in the winter. I thought it was miserable, actually.

I go for outdoor walks nearly every day from April through November. But come December, I’d pack my walking shoes away until spring.

One day last winter, I was desperate for an afternoon break. It was 20 degrees outside. Without thinking, I found myself bundling up and hitting the sidewalk. That walk was one of the most enjoyable walks, ever.

I left my thinking at home and because I did, I realized that I had been wrong all those years.

I had been equating cold weather walks with waiting at the bus stop on dark winter mornings, nothing but open land around me, wind slapping me in the face, head full of thoughts about how I wanted to be back in bed instead of on my way to middle school. Being out in the cold was miserable then, and those memories came up when I thought about walking in the cold now.

That cold, powerless feeling that marked my middle school years is what I thought going for a walk in winter would feel like today. And it might have…if I had brought my thinking with me. I would have experienced exactly what I was thinking about.

But because I left my thinking at home that day, I discovered that winter walks are incredible.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. When you’re an introvert who has an amazing time at a cocktail party or an extravert who has an amazing day at home alone, it’s happening. You’re leaving your thinking aside and showing up dumb, which will often provide an experience you wouldn’t have possibly imagined.

When you don’t jive with your in-laws but you have a wonderful conversation with them, or when you claim to dislike mockumentaries but you roll on the floor for Best in Show (how could you not?!), you’ve left your thinking at home. Without thinking, the in-laws or the movie might appeal to you or they might not—but you only know when you show up fresh, without the pre-judgment (pre-judice) about how what your experience will be like.

The ability to still surprise yourself is a pretty awesome one. It keeps life exciting, limitless and full of wonder.

Leave yourself behind next time you show up somewhere, and see if you can’t still surprise yourself.

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