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  • Writer's pictureAnna Byrne


Updated: May 18, 2020

Wander: to move without a fixed course, aim or goal

: to roam over

: to go idly about

I do, on occasion, power walk. On days when I have an excess of energy or anxiety, walking the pavement with a degree of effort and intensity helps to burn off the twitchiness.

To power walk is to move the body with the efficiency and performance of a machine. It emphasizes speed, motion and exertion. With its elevated energy, power walking creates both greater aerobic effects, and pressure on the body systems, than other types of walking.

Power means to have the ability and capacity to act, or to direct others to act, in a particular way. In its affirming forms, power can mean personal agency, choice and strength of character. It can mean an enlarged capacity for affirming the inherent dignity of all creatures.

And too, power can be used to manipulate the bodies and energies of ourselves and others. In addition to power walking, I do, at times, power-work, power-think and power-talk. Some days, I knead myself into a frenzy of efficiency and production. I submit to the prevailing pressure to encounter (progress! advance! improve!) myself and the world at breakneck speed. Just like power walking, I bear this pressure on the joints of my life — my work, my creative pursuits, my relationships.

So, I’ve taken up wandering as an antidote. To wander (or, to meander, to amble, to rove and ramble) is to move without aim or goal. It is motion without strain or striving, assertion or ambition.

Its purpose, and its delight, is precisely in its directionless nature. It means to turn your feet this way or that way only because a trail, a bug, or a thought catches your attention. It is to feel your feet, and the earth below your feet, and the forces that hold the two together.

In wandering, the body and mind move slowly, with ease and attentiveness. Wandering adopts the pace and humility to rightfully see something without simply passing it by. It gives time to the silent bird in the tree or the man on the corner. It is spontaneous, leisurely, wonderfully unhurried and unassuming.

To choose to wander is to choose an inner and outer stance of being in the world. It is not immobility or lifelessness, but rather to choose a spirit of deceleration. It is to be intentional, to hold back, to lay pause. It is to be at home in yourself even as you move through the world.

Wandering is the pace where Wondering can appear.

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