Does “Walking With Purpose” Equate To Meaning?

February 6, 2016

It could have been middle of the night for all the blackness our overhead sky held this morning when Hubby arose to go fishing at 6:00 a.m. (or what we like to call, “0 dark-thirty”). If I don’t join him, I walk with him to the dock and eventually, when snack supplies have been purchased, the captain and crew met up with and greetings exchanged, the craft boarded and launched – becoming a receding speck to my eye, the horizon has begun teasing with hints of daybreak. Then I exalt in perhaps my most cherished endeavor – an unhindered, lengthy walk, free of time constraints! (#walkingwalkingwalking) Well, today Billfish was cabbing to the dock with Amigo Bob resulting in a stall out for me given the lack of daylight. Fortunately I didn’t convince myself right back under the alluring covers and by 7:00 a.m my peds were on pavement and away I went. It’s always beneficial to get an early start when a scorching sun is expected.

The only real contemplation I achieved whilst ambulating had to do with simplicity. I observed scores of folks heading to work and school – passing on my way a multitude of minuscule eateries and specialty artisans (carnicerías, panaderías, tiendas de lácteos, tortillerias, tiendas de vegetels, and numbers of Fonda – enter any name here – serving comidas out windows, from stands, in home courtyards, on the streets. I wonder how they even cover their costs, there are such an abundance of them! And none too fancy. Neither are the homes, adornment consisting mostly of beautiful, bright paint colors and remaining Christmas decorations. Yet generally the garbage is bagged up (unless it’s meant for the dozens of wandering chickens and roosters and a few cats to snack on), the dogs are well behaved, neither lurching nor barking even unleashed, the niños polite and the smiles and greetings freely shared. And the ages – I swear there are Mexicans working who are well over 80 and 90 years old – maybe even 100!!! Lots of them!!

I wanted to snap so many photos of the residential Zihuatanejo I zigged and zagged through as I marveled at this simplicity, but chose not to thinking it potentially viewed as disrespectful.

It got me to thinking about the current trend in America of downsizing – it’s even a “movement” to be “minimalist”. People challenging themselves to do with less, to be happy with less. Here in Mexico it JUST IS. No self-absorbed pats on the back for letting go and denying oneself. To me it actually feels joyful. That could just be my naïveté – maybe they’re truly miserable, though it sure doesn’t come off that way. Got me to thinking anyway.

I had a basic directional ideal yet mostly I just wanted to “walk with purpose” which I realized as I conceptualized it – that of late, this really boiled down to undertaking a brisk pace and accruing mileage of a minimum four miles (my daily treadmill accumulation). “Is this really ‘purpose’?” I challenged myself – a verb chiseled down to the physiological? I recalled last evening, when we arrived for dinner at 5:00 forgetting Coconuts didn’t open until 6:00 leaving us with an hour to kill that when Bill suggested walking I declined, saying I really didn’t want to “walk without purpose”. How arrogant of me! Actually, I am getting ahead of myself since this analysis didn’t occur until hours after my “exercise”.

I clocked an hour and eighteen minutes and exceeded my four mile target (4.15). Strangely I was disappointed thinking I would go much further since I had the time, however, I let the “Nature Calls” excuse lead me home and that was that. img_0706

As I settled into my solo morning, two activities directed my pondering of a broader definition to “walking with purpose” juxtaposed against my current diminutive version.

First, I read an article from the New York Times, “Moral Bucket list” contributed by David Brooks. From the piece, “But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.

I came to the conclusion that wonderful people are made, not born — that the people I admired had achieved an unfakeable inner virtue, built slowly from specific moral and spiritual accomplishments.

If we wanted to be gimmicky, we could say these accomplishments amounted to a moral bucket list, the experiences one should have on the way toward the richest possible inner life.” David Brooks describes this quite succinctly—stating that our culture honors “resume virtues” but we need to seek “eulogy virtues” in our own lives

Second, I did my Bible study homework (from last week). The focus was on David and how he patiently, faithfully and ultimately peacefully waited on God’s timeline to install him as King of Israel – some twenty years after it being prophesied,

when Samuel anointed him. And all the while God was preparing him perfectly for the position through relentless trials and victories.

What really jumped out to me in both, was the value of being less self-centered and more focused on others whether it be recognizing when God can work through me to make a difference, plus to challenge and grow me and also, cultivating a spirit of giving with joy from the heart. Further, I realized that I had gotten away from that line of thinking when I am out walking. “Walking with purpose” for me used to be praying for others along the way and it was my continual experience that an hour could fly by as there are just so many people on my list, not to mention a considerably generous accounting of praises and gratitude to express. It’s embarrassing to admit how often my head is devoid of thought… I am happy I received that reality check today! img_0709We strolled down the beach to hear a Trio Zihuatanejo who play at El Pirata (The Pirate) every Wednesday and Wow – do they have a following!! And we soon learned why! Their vocal harmonies and intricate guitar picking was soothing and even moved me to tears a couple of times. And the sister of one of the band members, jazz singer Patricia Carrión, intoxicatingly serenaded with a couple of tunes, too. Patricia played in a special concert for the Mexican consulate in Montreal and also at the international Jazz Festival of Quebec city a few years ago.

Our evening was topped off perfectly with Bill’s recreation of the pollo enchiladas with verde sauce, our recipe garnered from last year’s cooking class! The tortillas fresh from a tortilleria, chicken grilled yesterday at the mercado, and stock cooked from the bones all day today. Me encantó!!! (I loved it!!)

In closing, Yogi Berra joked, ”You should always go to other people’s funerals or they won’t come to yours.”

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