I’d already been wandering around Europe for about 2 weeks, and prided myself for not yet taking taxis or public transit… my friends and I walked EVERYWHERE. I never thought twice about it because walking was the easiest way to soak up all of the culture and scenery. I was able to immerse myself in Dublin, Edinburgh, London, and Barcelona.
It wasn’t until I arrived in Old Town Dubrovnik, Croatia, a town relatively smaller in size than the other places I’d already visited, that my legs started telling me something. I often times forget I’m not superhuman, and that day my legs reminded me. They didn’t speak up until after I was halfway around the City Walls, a system of forts, bastions, casemates, towers, and detached forts with a magnificent view of Old Port and the Adriatic Sea. Its height reaches 83 feet and is about 1.2 miles around.
It doesn’t sound like that much. However, once you’re in the city walls, there’s really no turning back. There are endless stairs to climb (I also accidentally climbed 61 flights of stairs that day). And of course I had to stop to walk through and climb to see every fort and tower. My friend and I walked the city walls and saw almost everything the city had to offer. We left the walls where we’d started, and we both had the same look in our eyes saying, “I need food and water…now.”
My legs, my whole body, were telling me to chill out. But I didn’t want to hear it. Oftentimes, our minds are not aware of what our physical bodies are telling us. It’s a practice to become mindful of our bodies. I’ve learned to listen the hard way, but still forget in times when it’s most important to be aware.
My friend and I sat down to eat and rehydrate, and I looked at my iPhone Health App to learn I’d taken 23,176 steps by about noon. No wonder why my leg muscles ached. My mind went to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, reminding me that I am not my physical body – a concept I struggle with on a daily basis. That day it was quite important. Actually, everyday it is quite important. I don’t regret for a second not being aware of the amount of steps I was taking or flights I was climbing, or forcing myself to listen to the repercussions, or meditating on what it means to not have a superhuman body. There wasn’t a better place to contemplate the sutras than that day overlooking the Adriatic Sea.