Go for a walk: Let all the thoughts swirl around and get outside of your head

swirling thoughts

swirling thoughtsSome mornings, I wake up with a lot of thoughts already swirling around in my head. It’s like I put them to the side when I went to bed, and the second I open my eyes (or before) they leap upon me again and fill my head before I even have time to grab coffee. 

When this happens, the worst thing I can do is get up and start working straight away. 

Because if I do that, the thoughts haven’t been allowed to go anywhere. They’re stuck, and they get more stuck or stuffed to the side while I try to focus on what I have to do that day. 

It’s sort of like bees. You know how there are people who don’t mind bees, and people who do? So when there’s a bee buzzing around, some people sit quietly and say “it’s okay – just let the bee do its thing, and it will go away”. Others jump up and scream and run around and bat at the air to get rid of the bee. 

(I don’t mind bees as much anymore, but I admit I’m the jump-up-and-run-away person if it’s a wasp. They’re mean. But let’s stick with the bees cos they feel a little friendlier, and it fits my nice analogy better.) 

I need to let the thoughts swirl around a little, until they find a window and drift away. 

The best way to do this is to get outside for a walk. 

I’ve always enjoyed walking – I even have my own hashtag #walkswithkaren – and one morning in particular this week when I went out, it was like I could feel all those thoughts swirling around, making noise, buzzing. They were a little confusing, a little helpful, but mostly they were just moving around. 

Some were calm thoughts. Some were confused, some were a little annoyed, some were pleasant. There are things to do and events and travel and people. There are relationship issues and business issues and opportunities and wonderings. 

And I walked. 

I had conversations in my head with a variety of people. I talked to God and thought about His characteristics. I imagined what this person would say or thought about what that other person did say and wondered where they were at. I remembered things from my holiday and thought about rest and work. 

And I kept walking.

And just as I returned on the path up to my house, I realised most of these thoughts had swirled enough and were beginning to settle. That my head was clearing and I was looking forward to the work I had to do that day. 

I need to walk in the morning, before I start anything – not because I need to sort things out (although sometimes I do), but simply to get all the thoughts going. To let them swirl around and do what they do so they don’t hold me back for the rest of the day. 

This isn’t the only way to deal with all the thoughts that swirl around. You still have to deal with things and have conversations and make calls and hold meetings and make decisions.

But let it swirl around a little first. 

Go for a walk. 

Let the thoughts do their thing, and you do yours. Look around at the sun rising and the trees moving and (if you can find some space with all those thoughts) listen to the silence. 

They’ll settle down, and then you can too. 

Follow me


Well. So. Small update.

Was out hiking on mull and slipped on a rock crossing a burn, and broke my ankle. (I remember hearing an audible “crack” as I went down.)

No signal on phone. Managed to climb down a ravine to get to a more open place and hopefully signal. At that point still convinced it “wasn’t that bad”. Tried to walk along the path and realised yes, it was that bad.

Phoned coast guard, who were utter legends. Sent a boat AND a helicopter. Sun was setting and they didn’t want me sitting in the dark. Oh my word it was cold. Helicoptered out to fort William hospital (nicest people ever), then down to airdrie where I got a cast.

Ankle broken in one place. Doctors pleased (as much as you can be!) it’s a clean break & lining up well. I’ll be down for 4-6 weeks.

I’ve repeated myself a lot over the last few days so here’s the short version to all the questions, with appreciation for the care.

Yes, I’m okay. I’m also utterly exhausted & have hit the “damn, this is going to be a long road” phase. Taking it one day, one hour at a time. 

I’m being looked after. Very kind friends and things being delivered. My amazing sister @secondsunrise2 flying in tomorrow from america to be with me for a few weeks. SO grateful.

What do I need? I’m good on the basics. There have been unexpected costs and more coming so if you want to PayPal monies for deliveries or getting my car & belongings back or all the taxis or whatever, feel free. I’m hardly destitute so only do that if you want to send something useful and aren’t sure what. PayPal username karenlreyburn. Amazon wishlist in bio. Random care packages also happily received!

My car & belongings are up on mull. I have people to help and we are working on timing. But if you’re on mull and want to return a car near Glasgow, let me know :)

Shout out to the Coast Guard for being so swift, & that beautiful combination of sympathy and practicality.

Download the @what3words app. Literal lifesaver.

That’s all for now. All the love. Oh - and no, I don’t hold this against mull at all. It’s still my happy place. Things happen & the mull community has been beautiful. Shout out to @treshnish who couldn’t have been kinder. ❤️
Morning walk. I stood and watched the ferry come in and the sun lighten this little edge of the world.
Been going through old photos and letters - the last of the boxes i had stored at my sister’s house in america. 

When I first moved to Scotland, I only planned to live here for a few years and then go back. Then after a few years I wasn’t ready yet…then I got my residency…still not quite ready….then started a business…then Scottish citizenship…bought a house …finally accepted this is my home and I wasn’t moving back. 

And with every visit back to the states I would go through more boxes, more photos and letters and memories. I’d keep some and throw others away; take photos out of frames and give away the frames; and as time went on I was able to distinguish between the ones I definitely wanted and needed to keep, and those which were lovely at the time but didn’t need to be saved anymore.

Over twenty years on and this past trip I went through the very last of the boxes. I joked to my sister that I’ve now officially settled into Scotland 😆 

This photo of me and my Gramps is a fave and definitely a keeper. Most of the photos and letters I’ve kept are those of family - parents, grandparents, sisters, nieces and nephews. And as much as I love taking landscape photos, I noticed that 20 years later it’s the people photos I am more likely to keep. Thankful for the traditions and patterns of seeing family every year or so since moving to Scotland. They’re small things - baking Christmas cookies and going for walks and going for road trips - but it’s the time together and the continuing family jokes and the memories which remain. And a few photos.

My grandfather (and all my grandparents) have now passed on, but I remember with fondness sitting around at their kitchen table, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, playing scrabble, laughing and talking and drinking coffee.

It’s the small things, and the rhythms of family, which last. ❤️ 
#family #memories #grandparents #oldphotos
Made fresh mince pies for the first time ever. Over twenty years in Scotland and I’d never tried to make them from scratch, so I figured…now is the time! I’m doing lots of thanksgiving baking (yes, we stretch it out here so I’m still prepping!) and decided to buy the ingredients. 

Dried fruit…mixed peel…lots of spices…and Venezuelan rum :) I made up the mincemeat last night, and then today put it in the little pastries and even cut out the wee stars to go on top!

I think I can safely say they’re the best mince pies I’ve ever had. Fresh out of the oven sprinkled with icing sugar and with a glass of said rum alongside :) 

Now we are curled up with a Harry Potter marathon, with plenty of mince pies AND a thanksgiving feast still to come. Happiness! 

#mincepies #homebaking #maryberry #maryberryrecipe #happythanksgiving #happychristmas #harrypotter #hpmarathon