walkingI’ve done more than my normal amount of walking these past few months.  Believe me, I’m not just guessing.  My iPhone tells me, “On average, you have walked and run further this year than last year.”  So there you go.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, 2024 got off to a challenging start for Team Levin.  And as I write this today, I stand in solidarity today with anyone who faces chronic, seemingly intractable family and life and parenting conundrums.  Those kinds that research, hard work, diligence, and all the normal problem-solving and parenting strategies we scroll through on Instagram don’t easily (or ever?) solve.

Yes, I’ve learned to ask for and receive more help.  And I’ve doubled and tripled down on self-compassion.  I’ve dug deep into micro-self care.  And the macro variety.  Used Insight Timer every day.  Read, wrote poetry, talked to my therapist, cuddled with dogs, journaled, and vented.  Even so, strong people sometimes feel broken.

So I walk.  I’ve brought back into my life the Covid-era mantra that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad attire.”  I walk short distances and long.  Daytime and dark.  Alone, sometimes, so I can stare at the gargoyles and crocuses.  Other times alone but with company in my ears – either the We Can Do Hard Things podcast as my soundtrack, or the voice of someone I love, listening to my updates and offering needed perspective.  I walk with loved ones.  With my husband.  With my kids.  I walk with friends who show up just to walk with me.  Who come with their dogs, or bring their kids to play (excuse me, “hang out”) with mine.  Friends who rally to join me at odd times, with full plates and families of their own.  Just to walk.


There’s an alchemy to walking, I’ve found.  I’m sure that’s the whole premise behind the podcast This Morning Walk, which I listened to during the pandemic and want to return to.  An alchemy to going outside.  Putting one foot in front of the other specifically not to look for answers.  But just to move.  I don’t know exactly what the walking transmutes or transforms, but every time I get home something has shifted.  In my body.  In my eyes and mind and how I see my world.

One thing I’ve held onto with a death grip these past few months has been a weekly writing workshop.  It’s a space that bubbles over with compassion.  Is void of judgment.  And gives me air to breathe and room to feel.  This past week, our writing prompt was Joy Harjo’s “How Love Blows Through the Trees” (which I thought was just a poem but it turns out she sings it, too.)  Here’s what I wrote in response, an embrace of the alchemy of walking with friends:


Four women blew love
through the trees yesterday.
Beach Drive, closed to cars,
Rock Creek Park, the closest
sacred forest to their homes.
They formed a line
not to march army-like
in the frosty February morn
but to hold her
and walk her forward
as she cried
under her sunglasses.
They passed the love
from mom to mom,
voice to voice
and even to Ginger
on her leash,
the dog whose eight puppies
in a prior life
earned her a spot
among mothers who understood.

This love between them,
among them,
knows how to bend
and will never break.
They will walk and walk
until, as one promises,
they will scoot
up and down geriatric
in their wheelchairs
if they have to.

The more a mama’s love is used,
the more it makes,
even if that love is passed
not mother to child
but mother to mother,
friend to friend,
broken heart to broken heart.

Back to Work After Baby

Want more practical tips on working parenthood?  Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave

Our Gift To You

At Mindful Return, we know that calm, thoughtful planning, and time for reflection, are keys to success in working parent life. Our FREE guide, 99 Questions to Ask Yourself Before, During, and After Maternity Leave, is our gift to you and your new bundle of joy.

Thanks! Check your e-mail for more information.