Counting Steps


After five hours of driving, the last thing I wanted to do, climb the fourteen steps from our ground floor to the main living space.

I stood for a few minutes my elbow on the railing, backpack weighing heavy on my shoulders, gripping the recent mail in one hand, water bottle under that arm, road trip snacks bag dangling from little finger, laptop and case in the other hand, seeing dust that needed attention.

I argued with myself about the tired phrase every journey begins with the first step.

The humorous side of my brain simply asked, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have only one step?”

I put everything down, pulled out my phone timer, set it for one minute.

“OK,” the annoyed and tired side of my brain responded, “I will do one step up and backwards  down, switching the lead foot from left to right for exactly one minute, imagining this is all I have to do.”

Right away I noticed ease leading up or back down with my left foot. I grabbed the railing the first few times leading with the right because I felt off balance. When the timer beeped I paused, now more curious than fatigued. The tingling sensation of muscle activation in my right hip drew my attention. Climbing the rest of the stairs slowly I checked for favoring one side versus the other. I felt for weakness or tightness in one hip or the other. I observed leaning toward the railing versus pulling up straight.

Consciously connecting with the physical sensations for one minute created a permanent post-it note that now triggers awareness of my body position walking, climbing stairs, sitting, and driving.

A week later curiosity about balance still overcomes fatigue.

Mentastics Minute: Listen HERE
Just take one step. Safely (use the railing if you need it for balance). Step up onto the step leading with the left foot, followed by the right. Step backwards down that one step leading with the left foot, followed by the right. Switch leading foot every few steps. Repeat for one minute. Pause for five seconds to notice any sensations in the hips. Carry this awareness of sensation into other movements such as walking, sitting, and driving.