Keep walking, though there ’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

 

I like to take walks through my neighborhood’s redwood groves and hillsides.   My real joy on these walks is the simple gift of walking and imagining being in sync with the pulsebeat of the earth.  Within walking, some part of my body seems to resonate in the invisible kinship of all earthly beings.

My experience of walking is one of grace. There is a communing of connectedness, humility and generosity.  The trees, the soil, the birds and every being, including me – and you – are walking together.  My sense is that as a human I am welcomed with endless earthly gifts – breath, water, shelter, food, creative inspiration and profound beauty.   My human gift in return is to joyfully and reverently receive these gifts and be a living expression of divine reciprocity among all.

For those moments in walking, I am experiencing unhindered belonging and togetherness.   I am feeling the interdependence of my human embodiment mirroring the universe.  Part of me are both everything that has come before and all that now is.  From what I understand, there is relationality even with the stars and planets.  This overall experience is one where the macro and micro are reflecting one another.  Walking, for me, is a reminder of the mystical and integrated flow of life, e.g., the simultaneous movement of sap in the trees and plants, blood within mammalian bodies, water of the ocean and streams and even the stary river of the Milky Way in the sky.

My hope is that within walking I might more fully recover a sensibility of my two-leggedness within this very diverse and conversant earthly realm.  Beyond me, my hope is that all of humanity will opt to revive an understanding that early humans had of the vibrancy within respect and reverence for all dimensions of living.  This will take a conscious surrendering of our human-centric ideals – e.g., dominance, greed, ownership, separateness, control – and the resulting economic and political systems that intentionally thrive on inequity, fear, cruelty and violence.   Each step is a step toward that aspiration.  I hope you will join me in walking.

Practice
This practice supports awareness of joy within connectedness

Prepare— 

  • Move your digital devices, including any wrist devices, to another room.  For the device you are using for this practice, please turn it to airplane mode.
  • Standing, brush yourself off.  Imagine you are covered in flour and need to brush it off.  Take your time.
  • Gently and loosely shake your body, including your legs and arms.  Allow your pelvis and shoulders to be loose and relaxed.

Practice— 

  • Standing, allow your arms to relax by your sides.  If you are more comfortable being seated, please feel free to find a comfortable seated position with the soles of your feet resting evenly on the floor.
  • Pause and appreciate the support beneath you.  Appreciate that you are being generously held by not only the floor but the earth and all the layers of the earth.  As you breathe, imagine on the inhalation you are drawing in the energetic support of the earth, and on your exhalation, you are sending your joyful appreciation for such loving support.
  • As you ground into your earthly connection, imagine you have long fingernails reaching toward the earth.  Then, with open palms reach down and gather up the gifts of the earth and lift them upward toward the sky.  At the top, bring your palms together and drawn them down the centerline of your trunk to the earth.  Repeat this movement three times.  Pause and appreciate you are the embodiment of heaven and earth.
  • (If you are seated and needing to remain seated, please stay here and breathe until you are ready to transition back into your day.  If you are standing or able to move in a standing position, please continue.)
  • Feeling this awareness of your intimate connectedness with sky, earth and all of life, slowly begin walking.  Invite your shoulders and pelvis to move freely.  Perhaps invite a gentle smile.
  • Allow your walking to continue to an imaginary song.  Perhaps invite a feeling of all life fluidly moving, each in their unique way, with a sense of loving care, compassion and reverence for one another.
  • Pause and simply breathe for a few breaths.  Then, in any way that is comfortable to you, spontaneously create gestures and movement that express joy and appreciation for the seen and unseen gifts that generously support you.   For example, if you were three years of age, you might jump for joy, twirling around laughing.

Transition Back into Your Day

  • Find a seated position.  Sit quietly for a few moments.
  • Then, when you are ready, transition back into your day.

This poem is from Mala of the Heart:  108 Sacred Poems, page 2, by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt (editors), published by New World Library.   The practice is inspired by a workshop with movement artist and choreographer Meshi Chavez.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon on katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2024.

 

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