The Detoxing Man is Active (in body and mind)
I walk my youngest son to and from the bus stop nearly every day. We live in a neighborhood where all of the children gather just outside the entrance huddling in preparation for the bus. So, we leave our house a few minutes early every morning, and we walk, jog, or run to make it on time.
In the couple of minutes that it takes to navigate this short distance, I will most often talk with my son about the day. When I drop him off, it is what he looking forward to, when I pick him up, it is the kind of day he had. He never lacks for things to tell me, whether that is about Pokémon card trading or some interesting “fun fact” that he has just learned.
We could absolutely have these conversations at any point, but I’m convinced it is the walking that makes it all possible. It is the one foot in front of the other, the racing to or from the stop that makes the words slide out easily from our mouths and find resonance in one another’s heads.
And conversely, there is a walk in each direction once a day during which I am on my own, with only my thoughts to keep me company. This short walk is often filled with planning for the future or in gratitude for my family. I walk the short path without my phone because the device isn’t nearly as engaging as thinking through what comes next, whether it is a personal challenge to tackle or breakfast to make.
My body is active in the work of creating time for my son to talk with me. My mind is active in the work of building a better future. Neither of these types of work is optional. They are not mentally taxing and they do not work out my muscles to the point of “sick gains.” Rather, this kind of activity is entirely about creating space, for others and for myself.
The space that an active body and mind provide is not for productivity, it is for possibility. The possibility to deepen relationships or develop a thought. My son could walk to the bus stop on his own. He knows the way and he is old enough. And yet, I choose to walk him there in the morning and in the afternoon because both he and I are worth those moments, shared together and filled with possibility.