Walking White Rock – More Sanity During COVID-19

Walking White Rock (OWR) was my next walking project after I completed Operation North Delta (OND) on September 1st, 2020. I have a great deal of contentment from knowing that I walked every residential street during OWR. I also have an abiding sense of satisfaction from sedulously sticking to my plan to complete OWR on December 30th, 2020.

It may sound a bit like I'm tooting my own horn when I use words like contentment, abiding, sedulously and satisfaction. But rather what I'm doing is removing my finger from the "alarm" button. The one that triggers the stress response in light of a perceived threat, regardless whether that threat is real or imaginary.

What makes my municipality walking projects (I'm on the 4th one) so engaging is that I actively use it to address and undress my stress. B.A.S. (before Auntie Stress), my thoughts were always accompanied by a dark shadow (not good enough, wrong, what if....) It was crazy-making and stress-producing.

Now that I am aware of how recycling negative thoughts, feelings and emotions can ruin even the most pleasant of activities, I call upon my "inner flag girl" to redirect the traffic of my mind and take a detour to my heart, which is where the physiological magic happens.

To see how and why the heart is the key, check out: Live Better with RA - Tip #1 or Happy Heart Day. Contact me to find out about the programs I have on offer to help you on your stress addressing undressing journey.

Am I always 100% successful? Of course not. There are days and there are days! Moments and moments! The practice is to get back your equilibrium/balance as soon as possible.

Uitwaaien is a Dutch word that means to go outside, especially in windy weather, to refresh and clear one's mind. Add cool/cold weather to that definition and I'm in my element as I traipse the neighbourhoods in White Rock, B.C. Up, up, up and down, down, down. No matter which way you plan it, you are going to get a good cardio workout (the less said about the knees, the better!) as White Rock is situated along a ridge that overlooks Semiahmoo Bay; check out the elevation map here.

It's a good thing I don't need my hands to help me walk, as I wouldn't get very far. Of late, my upper body doth protest too much. Although the last few days have been better; at least I'm able to finish up this post, which has been uncomfortably lounging in a half-dressed state since the beginning of the year. That's the nature of RA. As always, I do what I can, when I can.

Walk with me as I retrace my OWR steps...

Semiahmoo Bay in the morning.
Semiahmoo Bay in the morning.
Moody evening sky overlooking the west side of the Promenade and Semiahmoo Bay.
Moody evening sky overlooking the west side of the Promenade and Semiahmoo Bay.
Sunset over Semiahmoo Bay.
Sunset over Semiahmoo Bay.
Down, down, down. I lfet this for another day when I was feeling more energetic and courageous.
Down, down, down - I left this for another day when I was feeling more energetic and courageous.
One of the most cleverest things I've ever seen! A number of sidewalks are embedded with these cement strips. It aids in climbing up the hill and it prevents one from flailing about on the way down.
One of the most cleverest things I've ever seen! A number of sidewalks are embedded with these cement strips. It aids in climbing up the hill and it prevents one from flailing about on the way down.
Another example, but with a handrail, which I prefer.
Another example, but with a handrail, which I prefer.
A rosy glow on a calm Semiahmoo Bay. Looking east towards Blaine, Washington.
A rosy glow on a calm Semiahmoo Bay. Looking east towards Blaine, Washington.
Gargoyles! Look down, look around and look up!
Gargoyles! Look down, look around and look up!
Look down, down, down and see the Christmas lights that are strung along the Promenade.
Look down, down, down and see the Christmas lights that are strung along the Promenade.
Pretty mosaics on the stairs leading up from Marine Drive E. at Terry Parr Plaza.
Pretty mosaics on the stairs leading up from Marine Drive East at Terry Parr Plaza.
One of the many cement stairways that lead to the beach.
One of the many cement stairways that lead to the beach. They also lead up, but I'd rather be at the beach!
Not all the stairways are cement; some are made out of wood.
Not all the stairways are cement; some are made out of wood.

Impressions

Judging by the number of pictures I've posted, you have probably deduced that the biggest surprise I had in doing OWR is the number of staircases there are. It's a real-world version of Snakes and Ladders...er...Staircases. You don't see these when you drive by in the car, or stick to the regular walk along the promenade and pier, as we do whenever we visit White Rock.

Sadly, I didn't count them all, so I called the City of White Rock to get the answer. They didn't have an exact number of separate staircases, however, I was told that there were 20 separate paths that lead down to the water. Here's your homework: When you do your own version of OWR, I'd like you to provide me with the exact number, please!

On my first outing in the downtown area of White Rock, I felt as if I was one of the youngest people there. White Rock does attract a lot of seniors and a number of them are seen taking their daily constitution. In fact, I was impressed to see a woman who looked to be in her 80s, hunched over her walker, as she climbed one of those hills that you see pictured.

Another first was seeing people playing ping-pong outdoors on a cement table at the Kent Street Activity Center. What a great way to encourage community and activity!

As I've noticed on all of my walks, in some neighbourhoods I appear to be invisible, while in others, people are quick to smile and/or chat.

There is still evidence of the architectural history of White Rock's earlier attraction as a resort area for people living in Vancouver. While you can still spot the cottage-like homes that dot the hillside, they are being torn down to be replaced with newer homes that all seem to come out of the same design book. I adore those unique cottages and it saddens me to see history being erased.

You can still find older-style 3- and 4-story apartment buildings closer to the downtown - or is it uptown? - area. These too are making way for "progress." Not far from West Beach was an older apartment building. I had fun imagining the comings and goings of all the people who lived there over the last century.

Final Thoughts

When you consciously engage with your environment through your senses, your awareness shifts. You are distancing yourself walking away from your worries for the time-being. Train yourself to look at the world around you. What do you see, hear, smell? What delights you? What creative ideas spring to mind? Did you accidentally (so it seems!) bump into a solution to a problem on which you've been working?

While you're out for your walk, be mindful of your 3 Ps. On Posture, Proprioception and Psoas, I wrote about how I periodically check in with myself to see if I need to make some micro-corrections while I'm walking. Another benefit to minding the 3 Ps is that while you're doing so, you are not fretting/obsessing/worrying. Now, doesn't that feel good?

Remember the importance of tickling your funny bone. Recall a funny experience, a joke, or something that made you smile. Given this post's topic, here's a rather à propos article: I'm a short afternoon walk and you're putting way too much pressure on me.

I encourage you to get out and explore your community. Commit to a S.M.A.R.T. (specific; measurable; achievable; relevant; timely) goal. Prepare to be astonished with what you accomplish.

In the News

Surrey Woman fights pandemic stress by walking all of North Delta, White Rock


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