A good preparation… – 21st century Lent

b2ap3_thumbnail_Thomas.jpgWalking can be healing in many ways, but as a hiker you have to be open to that. Sometimes it’s better to be strict and not accept half measures, other times it seems best to admit to your weakness, so that that recognition forms a basis from which you can move forward. In this section, Thomas Hontelez writes pieces that can be read in preparation for the Walk of Wisdom.


The Walk of Wisdom encourages runners to practice a 21st century fast. The mobile phone is left at home, or put far away in the bag, to be used only in case of emergency. A fast of social media, internet and television. But man is a creature of habit and needs time to get used to new situations. Before a habit completely changes in your being, 21 days are needed, according to popular wisdom. In that case, the Walk of Wisdom is not long enough to really cause a turnaround in your phone behavior, but with the right intention, walking for seven days can do a lot to you.

During a hiking week, the first day will often be easy. The legs are still fit and the mind optimistic. With that setting, it’s easy to leave the phone off for a day. After all, you checked Facebook before you went and let the world know that you are going to run. The second day it gets a bit more difficult. You are tired because the bed was not as comfortable as you had hoped and it is also slowly starting to rain. You quickly check your phone to see what the weather is going to be like. Skillful! Then you also quickly read that message you received. You don’t look at Facebook, because that was the agreement with yourself. Halfway through the day you get a downpour and when you finally get to your overnight address after a slightly too long walk, you want to let people know what a go-getter you are. From day three, you don’t see the point of fasting anymore and just put your phone in your pocket. That runs a lot better.  

It takes courage and perseverance to break through this behavior. The mind is good at finding new excuses for the importance of the phone. The first day it is still okay, but then the temptation slowly increases. The trick is to keep a critical eye on your own behavior. Try to discover how the mind tries to play with you and manipulates you in such a way that you end up reaching for the phone again. Once you understand that, you can respond to it. You don’t learn this observation of your mind in two days. It takes time and energy. As a form of training, you can ask yourself what the motivation is for each action. You can’t start that exercise early enough. The ghost is a shrewd figure who works with great sophistication. Practice makes perfect, and he who sows will reap.

By doing this exercise at home, you will be better prepared. You know the tricks of the mind and know how much fun it can be to play with them. This makes the walk itself less of a struggle. You have more space in your head to let new ideas bubble up and reflect on your daily worries. It is important that you complete the tour in one go. Because anyone can leave the phone behind for a day. Try it for a week!

I challenge you to walk the Walk of Wisdom as it is meant to be, in one go, in harmony with nature and with yourself, while also leaving room for a bit of struggle. For without struggle there is no victory, and without victory there is no growth.


Have a nice walk!