My peregrinations of the past three years consisted mostly of meandering trajectories from home to pre-planned destinations. As the car drives, a trip to Boston is 300 miles, but mine on foot covered 552 (I avoided I-95!). Last Saturday’s 1,000,000 Steps 4 OCD Awareness Walk in Jamaica Pond was a powerful event both in walking in circles and in experiencing intersections. Let me explain.
After registration, introductions, and short speeches, over 320 walkers strolled twice around Jamaica Pond, a 3 kilometers/1.5 mile route. That adds up to 6,000 steps per person, or over half a million steps collectively. Although I’m not used to walking in circles, I certainly enjoyed not having to rely on GPS or watch out for aggressive drivers. With a crowd of walkers, I yielded to the collective energy of the group, the walk happened all by itself, and we finished where we began.
Saturday’s walk provided unexpected intersections, rich in conversations with fellow walkers that straight walks often miss out on with their preoccupations with the route and the final destinations. And a solo pilgrimage is, well, mostly solo – with walking companions only occasionally. But on Saturday, I connected with Jen, Sally, Gary, Eric, Terri, Cameron, Jessica, Michael, Judy, Louise, Jennifer, Maria, Bob, Thalia, Sabine, Carrie, Chris, Neena, and so many others. Some encounters were preplanned; others just happened spontaneously. In contrast to the lonely reflective experiences of my Spain, Boston and Washington walks, during this walk, the miles flew by.
At this time in my life, circles and intersections are what I most need and want. By walking in circles, the lives of others can intersect with mine, and from that communion, we can move forward recharged. Thanks to the IOCDF, annual walks in Boston and Sacramento are allowing participants to build an intentional OCD community, to find hope in each other’s journeys, and to share personal stories. Without them, moving forward alone becomes harder and steps become heavier. I am so grateful that “Walking with Nathaniel” has morphed into this powerful annual event.