I was walking on the trail last week feeling puny (love that word), slogging along, when I heard a voice from decades ago: “You have strong legs—use them!” said the Aikido sensei to me during the brief period when I studied that wonderful, non-violent martial art.
I felt a jolt of energy, my speed naturally picked up, and my mood shifted.
When I shared the insight with my hiking buddy, he said “yes, I imagine my legs are the driver wheels of a steam locomotive.” Another friend uses the image of the tracks of a (non-military) tank gliding along, effortless rolling over any obstacle.
For me simply being mindful of my legs has been enough to power my walking. As I learned with meditation, the mind keeps wandering off; the trick is to notice it sooner and come back. On this week’s hike it was my negative, worried thoughts about my fatigue or feeling my posture resume its old slumping position that cued me to re-focus.