From the Stacks
By Carol Ann Robb, PPL Reference Librarian

Mindfulness is a word that has come to the forefront in recent years; it certainly wasn’t something I heard about until a couple of years ago. But as the world around us becomes more fraught and anxiety seems to plague more people, the concept of mindfulness has become more popular. Being engaged in the moment can calm an anxious mind.

When our newest staff person suggested we organize a mindfulness walk, I was intrigued. I’ve been a walker for some time—many dog owners tend to be—and I’ve been amazed at the number of folks I see walking with their eyes glued to their phones. They have absolutely no idea what’s going on around them. Granted, I usually had a dog so was on the lookout for anything that could have derailed our walk. Even though I’m currently without a dog I pay attention to avoid various hazards. And although I do take notice of the sunrises, cloud formations, and birdsongs, I can’t say that I’m particularly mindful.

Knowing I needed help in pulling off this type of program, I reached out to Ruth Monnier, the Learning Outreach Librarian at PSU, and she quickly got onboard with the idea and we are happy to present a Mindfulness Walk next Wednesday, June 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the East Shelter House at Gorilla Village (behind the football stadium).

April Lemon, the Director of Behavioral Health at CHCSEK, will present a short program on how to use walking as a means to connect with the natural world while quieting our often-overactive minds and then we can practice what we’ve learned (there are paved areas if you’re leery of walking around the lake). Actually, I think you could come and learn how to practice mindfulness while sitting out in nature if your mobility isn’t the best.

This program is for those aged 18 and older and as much as I love being around dogs this isn’t the best activity to include them (service dogs are, of course, welcome). We’ll have water available but there aren’t any restroom facilities in the area so keep that in mind. Also, since this is Kansas and it is early summer, we have a rain date of Thursday, June 13, also at 6:30 p.m.

Mindfulness walking may not seem like an obvious library program but we do pride ourselves in bring all kinds of information to our users. If you want to learn more, stop by the library this weekend to check out books on the subject. Otherwise, put on your walking shoes and join us Wednesday evening for a walk on the mind(fulness) side.