Submitted to The Practice Corner:
After yoga class I like to walk at the park nearby.  It’s one of my favorite times, when I feel clear-minded and enjoy being with myself. Not always easy to arrange.
Today I’m sitting on a bench lacing up my sneakers when a woman from the yoga class comes up to me.
“Oh,” she says brightly, “you’re walking?  Want company?”
No, I scream inside.
But I also feel my heart drop into my stomach.
Such a familiar trap.
I’ve spent my life saying Yes to such requests, mainly because of what my mind does at such moments.
Be nice, it whispers.  What’s the big deal?  Don’t hurt her feelings.  Don’t make her angry.  You can walk alone tomorrow.  Be nice.
I hate my mind sometimes.  It usually wins these arguments.
But this time, this time I breathe, and take my tiny courage in my hands.
“Most people complain I walk too fast for them,” I say.  “So, no, I guess not.”
“Okay,” she says, “Bye.”  And goes away.
I pass her later, walking in the opposite direction.  We nod at each other and smile.
Best walk I’ve had in months.
~ Shared by S.P.  (9/14/14)
Archived in Tales of Responsibility


The Practice Corner is an occasional series of true (but cleverly disguised) stories told by readers working actively to free themselves from compulsive controlling. Read more here.

7 responses to “Walk

  • leb105

    She was still “nice” (I’m impressed that she could come up with something gracious, more than just NO!), but she didn’t give up what was important to her.

  • lisafrederiksenbreakingthecycles

    LOVED this one, Steve!!


  • Al

    Brilliant simple and deep story….thanks. It reminded me how I second guess and imagine how others will react when I ”say No’. And when I actually have the courage to be honest, ‘and say No’, so far other peoples reactions have been to understand! So it makes me realise how bad an impression I have of others, unfounded, and not actual experience. The more I practice the more I hope to build up my experience of real versus imagined. Your blog really helps to remind me of this…thanks

  • janet

    Like the story, but thought she was still being “nice”. What if she was just honest and said “i really like to walk alone to clear my head but see you next time in yoga.” It also helps so that the person can’t say “That’s ok I walk fast too” and now you feel trapped.

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