Nathan Peterson

Releasing the Past and Receiving Today (My Daily Walking Practice - Part 1)

Possibly the most important habit I've created for myself over the past decade is my morning walk. It's not just a habit anymore; it's an integral part of my daily practice. Over the next 4 weeks, I'm going to share how and why I do this every day. While your version may differ, I believe it's important for each of us to develop a daily practice that enables us to release what is behind so we can receive what is here for us now...

For the past thousand days or so, rain or shine, I have started every day with a walk.

This walk is purposeful. Within the first few steps, I speak this phrase:

I am out here to invite a LOT of breath to flow through my body unrestricted, without pushing and without holding back.

This phrase opens the door to the rest of my walk, and my day. And while the rest of my walk (and my day) maybe be unique each time, there are 4 elements that seem to emerge every time.

Element 1: Release the Past.

First, I release the past. This includes every single thought and belief I am tempted to carry from yesterday to today. Thoughts about: who I am; what is possible; what is impossible; who I like; who likes me; my place in the world; how I interact with money ("it is easy for me to make 100buthardformetomake1M"); my wife; my worries; my goals. It includes what I believe about God, the universe, politics, morality, society, science. Everything.

These are old thoughts about old versions of people and things which no longer exist. My wife today is not my wife yesterday. It is not helpful to me, or her, to start today by relating to an old version of her. We are better off if I start today open. "Who is my wife today?" I will have to find out. This makes me curious. And it frees her to grow in whatever way she wants to grow. This is true for everything in my life, including myself.

When I explore this, a fear inevitably comes up which, when I shine light on it, sounds a little silly. I'm afraid that if I don't continuously maintain my thoughts about people and things that I will somehow lose them. For example, I'm afraid my wife will change so much that she may no longer love me. Or, I'm afraid if I stop believing what I believe about God, God will cease to exist. This is as logical as expecting gravity to stop working the moment I forget to believe in it. And yet, I have found this fear, again and again, embedded deeply in my subconscious. Shining a light on it helps to expose its silliness. But that is not enough...

This fear also infects my beliefs about myself: what I am capable of; what I am not capable of; where I belong and do not belong; what is easy or hard for me. I decide these things before the day even begins. I bring them with from yesterday. From yesterday-yesterday. From years, decades, and perhaps generations ago. Today-Nathan doesn't stand a chance this way.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. --Heraclitus

Nothing today is as it was yesterday. Holding onto yesterday's thoughts and beliefs about anything, even about myself, leads to a severely limited experience of life. Yet, most of us--myself included--are programmed to do this automatically, every day.

I've got to clear a space for today-me, for my today-spouse, for my today-kids, even for today-God… to free them to be fully, and only, who and what they are. And to free myself to receive and enjoy them as they really are.

So every day on my walk I practice releasing the past.

When I do this, I often experience a tangible shift in my body. I feel relieved--I am relieved--of a million tons of thought-baggage I have been carrying with me from day to day to day, in order to keep an entire universe (a made-up one) alive. Once I put that down, I not only feel relieved, but I am immediately overwhelmed by a brand new universe before my eyes--infinite and 100% real.

Next week, I'll talk about the second element of my daily walk. But I want to pause here to leave space for you to explore how this looks for you.

Something to Try: This week (today if you can) consider giving yourself 10-20 minutes to take a walk, sans-phone. On this walk, explore letting go of the past. Of everything.Every thought. Every belief. About the world, politics, money, God, your family, your friends, yourself. Honor the fear that comes up, then remind it and yourself that this is only a short exploration… you and the entire universe are safe. As you explore, pay special attention to any tangible shifts in your body as a result of letting go of this heavy weight. If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear about your experience!

#freedom #my daily walk #presence #self-awareness #self-care