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Why We Walk & Talk

Honor Connor is hosting our first annual Walk and Talk for Hope this November 27th.  That’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it’s also Connor’s birthday.  He would have been 30 years old this year. 

So why are we hosting a Walk and Talk event?  Why do we think it’s important to get together with your friends or family or both, take a walk and talk about the stuff that really matters?  And how will it be hopeful?  I hope I can answer some of those questions here and if you have more questions, I hope you will ask them.  I may not know all the answers, in fact I’m sure I don’t, but we are on this journey of hope together.  I will do my best to find the answers – that’s a promise. 

10,000 Steps

Did you get your 10,000 steps in today?  That was such an important goal for many of us as we bought fitness watches with pedometers.  I never was very good at reaching that goal.  In fact, not until recently, fitness was not a priority of mine but walking with a friend or family member on a beautiful day has usually been nice.  The funny thing is that the true story behind the number “10,000” originated in Japan as walking became a way to stay fit and fight the growing epidemic of obesity.  New pedometers helped people keep track of their fitness and Manpo-Kei became their rally slogan.  Manpo-Kei which translates into “10,000 steps” was the minimum for walking clubs that sprang up all over Japan for dedicated walkers and joggers.   That number became the goal for walkers all over the world!

Walking is certainly beneficial, but we don’t have to necessarily walk 10,000 steps to get those benefits. Many of us, and I include myself here, live sedentary lives compared to our ancestors.  We no longer are forced to hunt and kill or even farm for our food the way humans did in the not so distant past – not to mention all the other machines and technology that do a host of other things for us – and I’m certainly very grateful.  But the human body was meant to move, so we need to find ways to get it moving that may not be a natural part of our daily routine any longer.   One of those rather enjoyable, usually accessible and completely free ways to do that is to take a walk. 

I know that soon after I lost Connor, I would frequently read in books about Grief that taking a walk was a good thing to do for myself.  It was a way to get outside, get some fresh air, reconnect with creation, clear my head, and do some breathing.  Even if my walk was only 5 minutes, that was a good start.  It was hard to do in the beginning because Connor was a walker and everywhere I would walk in my neighborhood only reminded me more of him and my heartbreaking loss so I couldn’t bear to do it.  He walked his Golden Retriever, Jake, along the many pathways near our home.  I found it difficult at first but eventually it brought me comfort to be walking on those same paths. 

How do you like to walk?

What do you do when you walk?  Do you like to walk alone?  Do you like to listen to music or an audiobook or podcast?  Do you like to pray or meditate? Do you like to walk with someone or maybe you are like Connor and enjoy walking with your dog?  There are so many possibilities.  Have you ever gone on a walk and needed to process something important, so you asked a person you trust to come with you?  Or maybe you were concerned about a friend so you asked them to go on a walk so you could check in.  There’s something about walking and talking – it can be so beneficial for the walker, talker and the listener.  Does your family ever go on walks together?  I see families in my neighborhood take walks after dinner.  My parents are big walkers.  They are 80 years young and have walked their neighborhood in Florida for many years.   I’m sure there’s been a lot of life discussed along the sidewalks of their neighborhood through the years. 

Benefits of Walking

Studies have shown that walking in nature reduces ruminating over negative experiences, which lowers the risk of depression.  Walking in general is overall good for your health.  According to Ann Green, M.S., past heptathlon world athlete, yoga teacher and fitness studio owner, “Walking improves fitness, cardio health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduces risk for cancer and chronic disease, improves endurance, circulation and posture, and the list goes on…” 

Walking has great mental health benefits.  According to WebMD, 

Walking can:

• Improve sleep

• Relieves stress

• Improve mood

• Increase energy and stamina

• Reduce tiredness that can increase mental alertness.

 

You can build on the positive effects of walking by inviting friends to join you.  Walking with others for one or two days per week can have enormous benefits.  Physical exercise combined with positive social interaction can improve negative moods, ward off depression and improve self-esteem. 

“Psychologists found that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45 minute workout when it comes to relieving the symptoms of anxiety.”

Wow!!!!  That’s some great advertising for Walking!  Maybe I should get rid of my Peloton!  Just kidding….I love that thing.

Conversation Starter Resource Kit

During our Walk and Talk for Hope we are providing Conversation Starter Resource Kits.  These kits will give you a list of questions that will help get the conversation going.  It’s a simple “check-in” with whomever you have chosen to walk with that day.  You don’t have to be a professional or any kind of expert to walk and talk (kickstart meaningful conversations on your walk).  You just need to show up!  Sometimes just knowing that someone is there to listen is enough for the person who is struggling. 

Be a Good Listener

Once you get the conversation going, be sure to be a good listener. When you ask a question, really listen to the answer while staying curious. Believe what the person is saying.  Doubting a portion of what someone shares will negate everything running through their mind.   Listening with an open mind without judgement is the most powerful way to show someone that you’re there.

Voice your support.  Telling our loved ones or friends that “they should be grateful for what they have” or just “choose to be happy” may have good intentions but may not be helpful for someone who is struggling.  Reminding them that they are loved and supported in all aspects of their lives and that their feelings are valid is best.

 

It’s Hard For Me to Share

If you’re the one who’s struggling, actually talking and sharing can be a really difficult thing to do.  It may seem easier to ignore the invitation to walk and talk.  Just like it may seem easier to say you have a cold to get out of work than to admit what’s happening.  Sometimes any excuse feels better than saying “I can’t stop crying” or I’m struggling to find meaning in my life.”  Believe me, I’ve been there.  Maybe this next example will help. 

 

Shake Up the Conversation

I love Hope for the Day’s example of the Mind being like a Bottle of Soda. 

Resources

Please check out our HOPE ALLIES & register for our Walk & Talk to receive our Conversation Starter Resource Kit for additional help and support for anything that might come up in your conversation where you believe you or the person you’re talking with may need additional support. 

 

Social Media

This is a virtual walk but we would love to SEE you face to face!  Thanks to the magic of social media we can do just that.  We will be hosting a Facebook live event that day for people to jump on and check out our event.  Plus, we would love for you to video yourself and take pics and share, share, share!  That’s how we get the word out about the importance of talking in order to reduce stigma.  Be sure to use #walkandtalkforhope when you post.  Muchas Gracias!

 

Stop the Stigma

The bottom line is that talking about the stuff that really matters breaks down stigma and that’s what we are all about at Honor Connor. Talking with each other, listening, encouraging – it’s all part of offering HOPE!  Knowing there are people that care about me and care about you enough to take the time to listen is such an important part of our connection to hope.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  I want to share one of Connor’s writing with you to encourage you today and let’s get out there and do some walking and talking to help make the world a better place. 

YOU ARE LOVED

Those of you in the crowd

Living day to day

Moving from one place to another mundanely

Pretending to be alive

You are loved

Those of you in the crowd

Up all night listening to Mom and Dad fight

Only to cry yourself to sleep

You are loved

Those of you in the crowd

Who feel like they have to put the ski mask on

And point the pistol at the cashier to survive

You are loved

Those of you in the crowd

Who stare at the mirror

Only to race to the bathroom to throw it all up

And make cuts on your arm

You are loved

Those of you in the crowd

That take the trip to the metho every day

To avoid being sick from not having dope

Only to always remain broke

You are loved

 

God created us with nothing but love

He wants you to know you are never alone

If you feel you’re stuck in your ways

There is always a way out

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson

Founder & Manager Director

For more valuable information, visit our Hope Allies.

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