How a 12 Minute Walk Changed My Perspective

About 3-4 times a week, I start my work day with a walking meditation.  I put the timer on for 12 minutes and walk…very, very slowly.  I start with my left foot with the first inhalation of my breath and time my steps with my deep belly breaths.  Sometimes I may go for 15 minutes if I am really in the flow.

Most often, it is a mixed experience, but I persevere, because I spend so little time just feeling the 4 corners of my feet on the floor…where the pressure points are, the wobbly feeling when I start to feel unbalanced, the coolness of the wood on my bare feet.

So rarely do I take the time to look at my home or my neighborhood and notice what I usually rush by because I am talking, thinking about past and future stuff, pulling my dogs along or being pulled.  Sometimes, bringing my attention back to my breath is like pulling a steamer ship to the shore with a kayak.  It feels pretty nearly impossible to focus my attention on what is.  The what was, the what will be is all too powerful.

The what was and the what will be is where most of us live about 98% of the time.  I am no different.  But when I orient myself to the present place and time, I take myself out of myself so I can notice:  the wind on my face and rustling of the leaves, the cool of the late summer air, the fading scents of early fall blooms: Phlox, Coreopsis, Asters and Black Eyed Susan.  Sensations and feelings sweep over me and briefly pass through—short term visitors. I say “hello” and “goodbye” and let them float away.  All these impressions become curiosities.  And I realize that noticing them is enough. Like the seasons, emotions, bodily sensations are important cues for where/what I am, in this present moment, but they will shift—with the wind.

How would your life change if you could imagine your emotions and experiences as visitors: even if tragic and challenging?



Photo by Autumn Mott on