Monday, June 20, 2011
Feature Entry: Torpor Walking
First a comment about torpor and its companion word sloth. Sloth and torpor are forces in the mind that drain vitality and limit effort. Synonyms include laziness, idleness, sluggishness, inactivity, indolence, apathy, and inertia. An antonym is liveliness. Sloth and torpor resembles mental and physical fatigue. The symptoms of each include discouragement, frustration, boredom, indifference, giving up hopelessness, and resistance for taking responsibility. What is different, sloth and torpor arise from a psychological attitude rather than physical or mental fatigue.
Torpor walking is an antidote for a torpor frame of mind. If you are listlessness and feel fatigued, you should practice torpor walking. If you feel sluggish and apathetic, a good brisk walk can assist you in breaking out of your sloth and torpor quandary. Seasoned walkers know that even when we are tired there is wisdom in pushing forward with the walk. That "pushing forward" even when you do not feel mentally or physically up to a walk is torpor walking. Experienced walkers know that a good brisk walk can help eliminate the effects of sloth and torpor mindfulness.
Ms MoneyWalker and I just returned from a 12 day vacation which included a seven day cruise. The vacation was preceded by several days of intense mental activity but little or no walking or exercising. The cruise featured formal dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with food choices that made portion control and calorie vigilance essentially impossible. As a result both of us returned to our home physically and psychologically exhausted and somewhat over weight.
Vacations and travel result in acute excitement and tension which is often expressed through the muscles. As a result, the traveler upon returning feels exhausted. Because the excitement masks the weariness, travelers are not aware of their weariness until they get home. For the MoneyWalker, the first morning involved a crisis encounter. Do I get up, put on the walking attire, and hit the streets; or, do I rationalize and declare a recovery period? The problem with resting involves habit strength. I feared the habit of inactivity.
The MoneyWalker returned to walking the first day. The muscles were stiff, there was no zoom in the stride, and the mind was it total rebellion. Those first two walks left me feeling anything but refurbished and rejuvenated. But after three days, the joys of the morning walk started to return. The walking was assisting me to renew a healthy state of energy and alertness. These first few walks were torpor walks—walks to restore vitality. The crisis was averted, the walking habit was reestablished.
As for the fatigue that comes from psychological sources such as discouragement, self-pity, complacency, and ideas of futility, the MoneyWalker is not immune. In fact, just before the vacation, the Moneywalkers lost a valued family member to diabetes. But when he experiences negative feelings, the antidote is the same; maintain a brisk walking regiment. From experience he knows that a torpor walk will help him to rediscover the wonderful sensation of liveliness.