You walk every day because your osteopath tells you to. It’s good for your muscles, your heart, your diaphragm, your mind. He tells you to write every day too, for the same reasons.
But you are relearning how to walk. After years of poor posture, two pregnancies, various accidents and injuries, your body is in a sorry state, so you’re trying to rebuild yourself. You walk mindfully, engaging your core, pelvis tipped forwards, shoulders back. This takes effort and is only sustainable for the time it takes to walk along the river into town. Then the ache begins, a lower back grumble turning quickly to a roar.
When this happens you feel resentment towards the people around you. They appear to move without effort, carrying their shopping bags, strolling or striding, peering into windows, standing in queues. They have the appearance of comfort and ease. You resent their ease, but you also lust after them, you want to inhabit their bodies so much.
But, gradually or suddenly, you don’t remember which, you feel ashamed of this anger you feel towards strangers, and you remind yourself that truth is not always something to be seen. These strangers are likely to be experiencing pain too. In their bodies. In their minds. In their hearts. No-one is immune.
Sometimes pain can be etched onto the face, particularly the pain of loss, but often we choose to hide. Pretend. Let ourselves be absorbed by the billow of life. We are all wandering lost within ourselves and our own perception of what is beyond us.
So, you begin to smile at these strangers. Something that can be seen. Something that says, I feel it too.