In May 2014, Lori Clanton founded Fresno Mindfulness Walks when she woke up on a Saturday morning and decided to walk a neighborhood other than her own. That morning, Lori and a few friends walked about four miles without talking to each other.
Lori started a Facebook page, and since then, she and many others have walked over 420 miles through 106 Fresno neighborhoods; and the weekly walks continue. These are weekly guided walks through neighborhoods all across Fresno, from Copper River Country Club in the north to Calwa in the south, from West Fresno’s Victoria West Park to the Fresno Airport in the east.
Different routes are chosen every week with the goal to increase our understanding of all of Fresno – both familiar and unexplored neighborhoods – at a walking pace. The assignment each week is to breathe, walk, and observe. Walkers do not talk to each other but gather for a few minutes after the walk to discuss observations. Walkers describe the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of the neighborhoods. Walkers answer the question, “What was invisible that is now visible?” Walkers report that each walk increases peace of mind, exercise, and connection with the community.
Weekly walks are approximately 4 miles and take about an hour and a half. Walks are at a medium pace and sometimes on uneven ground. Everyone is invited to join one walk or many, and no RSVP is required. To see photos and read reflections from previous walks and to receive a weekly email notification, visit www.fresnomindfulnesswalks.org and follow the Facebook page: Fresno Mindfulness Walks.
Lori Clanton believes that the power to transform a city resides in regular people taking creative action. In addition to her work in community philanthropy and communications, Lori is the founder of Fresno Mindfulness Walks. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
George B. Kauffman, Ph.D., chemistry professor emeritus at Fresno State and Guggenheim Fellow, is a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education, the Helen M. Free Award for Public Outreach and the Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, and numerous domestic and international honors. In 2002 and 2011, he was appointed a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, respectively.