“Let life be your path and your walking be your healing.” Sarah Plummer
I went for a run lastight. I’d been working all day – writing, making phone calls, emailing, strategizing (strategery!) and whatnot – feeling a bit tense. I needed some fresh air. So out the door I went. I followed the crushed gravel, sand, and dirt path throughout the suburban development in which I live. It’s a beautiful route, and as little time as I’ve spent in Denver since moving here, I’m already used to the trail I follow during my weekday runs.
About fifteen minutes into the jog, I reached a point in the path shaped like a “Y.” Tonight, I veered left, toward the mountains and the setting sun. The instant in which I made that decision, a little spark went off inside my brain. I thought, “Cool, I’ll check out this part of the hood tonight.” In all reality, there was no risk in getting lost. Even though I hadn’t been down that particular road before, I knew well enough where I was. But my brain was stimulated in completely different ways for those last twenty minutes of my workout. I saw the same mountains, but from a different perspective. I saw new houses, new parks, new neighbors.
I tried to stay light in my stride as my mind wandered. It reminded me of when I was last stationed at Quantico from 2007-2009. The best part of that job was that our office was right next to the gym and the woods where a major trail network began. I almost never set sole on the roads during those days in Virginia; I was a trail-runner at heart and I insisted on running there or nowhere. I used to joke that running in the woods made me smarter because I had to choose new paths and figure out how to get back. I not only got lost a few times, but also pulled an ass-over-head wipe-out on more than one occasion because I got so excited about the fresh air and foliage that I took a steep downhill with reckless abandon.
The woods were where I connected with God. I prayed when I ran, and talked with God about what was going on in my life. If I didn’t feel well, that was ok, because at least I was out there in nature…moving. Not one run was ever the same as the last.
“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” Paulo Coehlo
The cool thing is, it’s not just my personal theory that picking new paths is a positive thing. (I also happen to like alliteration). It’s science! 🙂 Choosing a new path….it can be a metaphor or something quite literal. Maybe that means choosing the other fork in the road, learning a new language, playing a new instrument, or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand (watch the video). As these new trails form in our brain, old damaged ones kind of get overridden or crowded out, or actually start to heal. Now, keep in mind, this is just me summarizing a huge concept in a tiny paragraph, but I’ve been researching this A LOT. More and more studies show that as we form new neurological pathways in our brains through daily activities we can ward off Alzheimer’s, depression, and help mitigate some effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
*ok, there wasn’t literally a fork, as in a type of silverware, in the road…and, apparently, I really like the word “literally”]
My take on it?? — What do you have to lose by mixing it up and trying to find a little more adventure in your daily life? You don’t have to go big right away, and you don’t have to do it all today, or this week, or month, or year. You can do small things on your own every day mentally (for neuro benefit), emotionally (do something exciting), or spiritually (as walking those new paths may allow you to connect with yourself and God).
In Deepak Chopra’s New York Times Bestseller (aren’t they all? 😉 ) Reinventing the Body Resurrecting the Soul, he explains how we can rewire our brains, change our DNA, and effectively take ownership over our lives again on every level. Be persistent, friends. Be resilient. It’s your life to live. Choose to love it and live it 🙂 And, well, Just Roll With It! 😉
“So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light ‘cause all they gave me such a fright that I will hold on with all of my might, just promise we’ll be alright.” Mumford & Sons – Ghosts That We Knew – Babel
*** Talk to me, Goose! ***
Have you ever chosen the “other” path and felt the benefits? Like me, do you suffer from PTSD or TBI and have fun little extras you add to your day for brain health? Inspired to change anything after reading this post that you want to share with others? Interact with the community by leaving comments, suggestions, and likes below! 🙂
P.S. –-> Semper Sarah UPDATES – The Just Roll With It Bootcamp will be held Saturday, 1 December, in SAN DIEGO. Register here www.JustRollWithItBootcamp.com ! 🙂 If you know of someone who could benefit from some inspiration and instruction on how to be ridiculously happy, healthy, and successful, then spread the word! We have some awesome sponsors on board to include Holy Crap Cereal, Papa Steve’s Protein Bars, Jade Yoga Mats, Nutrex Hawaii Spirulina, and more! Also, Just Roll With It the book is set to be released in December, as well —> just in time for the holidays.