Walking is a pretty spiritual thing for me. It is a time to be aware of my body and my surroundings. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are boardwalks and bike paths that go around lakes and into wooded areas. The air is sweet and cool on spring and early summer days and the lake is fairly still. Swans and ducks and the occasional egret or heron enjoy the marsh by the boardwalk. Bullfrogs and turtles and leopard frogs rest on fallen branches.
The colder it gets, the more difficult it is to be motivated to walk. The neighborhood roads are usually plowed, though. And even when it is blustery and cold, the dogs always enjoy our walks. The snow and ice right now cover the naked branches and sparkle in the sun. Children ice skate on the lake. It truly is a beautiful place to live when I take the time to notice it.
I very rarely bring my iPod along when I walk by myself or with the dogs. I feel it breaks the connection down the leash as well as the time to listen to my body. I use walking as a meditation frequently since I don't seem to be doing well lately with sitting still and feeling present. When we walk, the dogs and I get a chance to see and smell small changes around us and within.
Many of my favorite quotes on mindfulness are by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk exiled in France. Rather than explain what I think of these quotes, I will simply include them and let you come to your own conclusions thinking on them.
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.
Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth and share the lesson of love. We walk in that spirit.