Are you thinking of starting a walking routine or looking for a podcast to walk to? Years ago, I started a program of almost daily morning walks. These walks are time for me to contemplate life, and think about topics such as simplicity, simple living, minimalism, history, philosophy (especially Stoicism), living in a small village, self reliance, good books, habits, hobbies, projects, family life, and essentially being a man, husband and father. There have been times when I would go months without missing a daily walk, but typically I get in about 4-5 walks a week. While walking is great exercise, my walking habit is more focused on my mental wellbeing than my physical wellbeing. This podcast is my attempt to develop a habit of recording some of my thoughts and reflections as they manifest on my walk. I don’t think I’ll record every walk, but we’ll see. It's my hope building this habit helps me gain more clarity and perspective on my life as I share what's on my mind with you, my anonymous virtual friend and walking partner. Just a note, these are "field recordings" as I walk around my village of East Aurora and in Buffalo NY...so expect the audio to be a little rough around the edges quality-wise.
What do you do when the weather turns bad? Do you give in to the weather and let it control you, or do you take control and use the weather to your advantage? Do you find a way to have fun with it?
In my village...and all around Western New York...we tend to grab the weather by the tail and ride it for all it's worth. Especially in the Winter, folks in and around Buffalo just seem to find a way to make the weather fun. Tons of snow? No problem! That just means more skiing, skating, sledding, snowmobiling...and other sports that begin with "S" apparently!
For me, it means ski-shoeing...a cross between cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I use a hybrid ski called a Hok, made by Altai Skis. I love them!
Join me on Episode 10 of Thoughts on Walks as I ski-shoe around Knox Farms in my little village of East Aurora, New York.
What is your focus for 2019? Are there any goals, aspirations or watchwords that you plan to direct your energy toward this year?
I'm not too big on New Years resolutions, but I do conduct an annual review to gauge how my previous year went and I do set some aspirations for the coming year.
As I walk through my beautiful little village of East Aurora, I share my watchwords for 2019. Ironically, both of them are Japanese terms...wabi sabi and kintsugi. You can listen in as I talk about what they mean to me, but I'll also link to the wabi sabi and kintsugi pages on Wikipedia so you can find out more. And just to clarify, though I certainly appreciate the art of kintsugi, I'm focused more on embracing the philosophy in the year ahead and forward.
So as you look ahead to 2019, maybe you would serve yourself well to take some time...maybe on a walk around your village or favorite place...to choose one or two watchwords to be your point of focus for the year ahead.
Happy New Year, and thanks for joining me on Thoughts on Walks!
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If you had to pick a location that had a "sense of place," where would that be? Is it somewhere you've visited, somewhere you live or lived? What gave it that sense of place?
As I write this, it's Christmas Eve day in East Aurora, NY. Ironically, we thought we'd be having a green Christmas. It just didn't seem right...16 miles from Buffalo (which is usually the punchline in snow jokes) and all our snow was gone with a recent heatwave in the high 30s and low 40s. But just as I started uploading Episode 8 of the Thoughts on Walks podcast...as Christmas music plays in the background and my wife is making cinnamon rolls for tomorrow, the skies unleashed with big, puffy snowflakes. It looks like we'll have a white Christmas after all. Talk about a sense of place!
I'm going to spend the day working on those Craftsman-style doors I mentioned, I have an important phone call at 2pm, and then maybe it's another fire on the sleeping porch with a drink and a book.
How about you?
Here are links to a few of the things I spoke about as I walked around the village recording Episode 8:
The Tweet I saw about the little library in the tree that spoke to me so:
The article in The Buffalo News about my little village:
East Aurora New York...my village
If you use Instagram, connect with me there at https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsonwalks/
If you could go back in time and view history as it was being made as opposed to experiencing it from a historical context, how do you think your views would change?
That's what I was thinking about as I edited and reviewed Episode 6 of Thoughts on Walks. I wondered what my opinion of Elbert Hubbard would have been if I had viewed his life as his contemporary rather than someone removed by over 100 years. I know my opinion would have been quite different, but would I have been too critical? Would I have allowed his indiscretions to prevent me from seeing the good in him and the movement he led?
History is carefully curated by most, as is our social media of today. What would others think of the "real" us if they viewed us first-hand, rather than the carefully self-curated versions of ourselves that we put on social media? And if they only know the social media version of us, do they really know us?
Well, speaking of social media, I decided to open an Instagram account for Thoughts on Walks. The Instagram username is ThoughtsOnWalks and the link is instagram.com/thoughtsonwalks. I figured maybe you might like to see some pictures of things I talk about on our walks without having to go to the Thoughts on Walks website. I hope to connect with you there :)
Oh...I wanted to make a correction: On Episode 6, I misstated Miriam Hubbard's birthday year as 1884, when it was in fact 1894. I do all my own stunts here on Thoughts on Walks...usually without a net, so inevitably I'll mess up a fact now and again. I hope you understand.
What is it like for you when you learn the "backstory" of a person, entity or event, and it gives you an entirely new perspective? If you learn something positive, it seems to draw you closer to that person. But when the new perspective is negative, sometimes you can walk away feeling fooled or taken advantage of.
These days we project our story onto various types of social media, and those who follow us tend to judge us from just that one perspective. We control much of what they see. But what if they knew our "backstory"...our reality? Would they feel more drawn to us or fooled based on what we put out on social media?
In Episode 6 of Thoughts on Walks, we talk a bit about the backstory of Elbert Hubbard. We learn a little more about the dark cloud that hung over him in the final chapters of his life, and most certainly became a part of his legacy, and that of the Roycroft. I'm not sure how I would have taken this story if I watched it unfold as his contemporary. Yet, looking back through the lens of history, I still feel drawn to him and his story in many, many ways.
Listen in as we wrap up the Elbert Hubbard story. I also share a little snippet from witnesses who saw Hubbard and his second wife Alice in their final moments.
So now that you know what Paul Harvey would call "The Rest of the Story," what's your opinion of Elbert Hubbard? I'd be very interested to hear your take in the comments.
Have you ever noticed how, when viewed from a distance or over time, many things in life are actually more connected than we may realize in the moment?
We connect a few dots today. Dots between Michelangelo in 1500s Italy, Elbert Hubbard and other Roycrofters in early 1900s East Aurora, NY, a toymaker of the 1930s, artisans skilled in various trades worldwide, and even a contemporary author who lives and writes in Franklin Tennessee.
Add in the sinking of both the Titanic and the Lusitania and you'll have a little sprinkling of disparate thoughts that run through my mind as I walk around my little village on a December day. How could these people and events possibly be related?
Have a listen to Episode 5 of Thoughts on Walks and find out!
If you're interested in the book I mentioned from Jeff Goins, here's an Amazon link: Real Artists Don't Starve
Here is a link to a picture of Paul Bartlett's sculpture of Michelangelo which is in the Library of Congress...I was a little off on the location ;)
I hope you find some value in Thoughts on Walks. If you do, feel free to share the podcast link with a friend. You can do that using the Share link in your podcast app, or send them a link to the show in iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher. Thanks!
Customer ReviewsSee All
History, Life and Simplicity
Perfect setting for a perfect story. Mixing history with the present is such a good way of understanding how we got to this point. It is comforting to hear that simple days can bring great joy. Most importantly, that a second half of life should not be dreaded but looked forward to. I have missed his musings and look forward to every episode.