Walk

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I love this!  How often do we walk,  only to have our destination in mind? When was the last time we simply enjoyed a brisk walk, with no goal or journey’s end, only our senses fully engaged?

February 28, marks the last day of the meteorological winter.  Spring is on its way!   The warming temperatures mean getting outdoors more and enjoying the warming temperatures.  A nice walk is the perfect way to celebrate.

Walking is a delicious way to exercise, especially when all our senses are invited to participate.  Think of the beautiful simplicity in this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh the next time you go for a walk.

Pause.  Breathe in each step with appreciation as new found as a spring bloom.

 

 

The Art of Walking

photography by Terri Kern Pouliot

The Art of Walking

How do you enjoy walking? Are you merely going from point A to point B? Do you walk briskly for the cardiovascular benefits? Do your walks have a specific target or goal in mind? Have you ever simply ‘sauntered’ as Henry David Thoreau suggests?
Sauntering, while walking, is an experience. This type of walking is purely delicious and luxurious. It has no specific goal in mind. While sauntering, it allows the adventure to ebb and flow naturally. It’s open. Free. Expecting nothing, but receiving everything.
Thoreau viewed walking in a unique way. He considered walking to be more of a spiritual endeavor rather than mere exercise.

The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours — as the Swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life. Think of a man’s swinging dumbbells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far-off pastures unsought by him!

Thoreau was convicted by the thought that walking should involve a ‘connection’ with our natural world and approached with the mindset of becoming ‘fully present’. He believed that ‘busy’ was a conscious decision. He spoke of returning to his ‘senses’ after a saunter in the wild.

I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to Society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head and I am not where my body is — I am out of my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?

Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘saunter’ as this;
  1. walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort.”Adam sauntered into the room”synonyms:stroll, amble, wander, meander, drift, walk; More
noun
  1. 1.a leisurely stroll.”a quiet saunter down the road”
The Smithsonian explains where the origin of the word mostly likely derived:
The first modern use of the word “saunter” was in the 17th century, writes Hannah Osborne for International Business Times, and 19th-century writer Charles Baudelaire was the first to popularize this description of an urban saunterer or flâneur:

The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes. His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd. For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite.

Consider sauntering on your next walk.  We don’t always need to ‘burn calories’ while walking.  Enter your walk with no expectations and with an open mind and heart.
Become immersed in your walk.

Let Your Feet Kiss the Earth

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
What a privilege it is to be able to spend time breathing in the beauty of our natural surroundings. Taking our exercise outdoors provides extra health benefits in addition to physical well-being.
Exercising outdoors provides a mental boost. Research shows that spending time outdoors increases energy and decreases stress.
Research shows exercising outdoors increases self-esteem. There is no self-comparison among the trees! Often, a gym setting brings about feelings of inadequacy, especially when ‘new’. Exercise in general increases self-esteem. Taking it outdoors has even more positive effects.
Outdoor fitness is easier to stick with. When we enjoy an exercise program, we are more likely to stay with it. Take a friend along, and you double the benefits.
Soaking up the sun provides added benefits. When the sun kisses our skin, Vitamin D3 is created. This is essential for bone health, metabolic function, improved sleep, increased immune function, and endorphin production.
More cost effective than gym membership. While resistance training (weights) are important to keep age related muscle loss at bay; cardiovascular exercise is also essential for keeping our bodies healthy.
For those on a limited budget, investing in quality walking shoes and weather friendly workout gear, is all that is needed to get out and enjoy nature.
An exercise program, thoughtfully designed, provides enjoyment and depth to life. It provides a rich and multi-layered experience that provides many health benefits, in addition to quality to life.

5 Lessons from Trees

Take a stroll with me and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility nature has to offer.  Listen, if you will, to the wisdom of the trees.  

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
Photography by Tracy Sheppard

“When you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. And you look at the tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it. You appreciate the tree. The minute you get near humans, you lose all that. And you are constantly saying ‘You are too this, or I’m too this.’ That judgment mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
– Ram Dass

 

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
Photography by Tracy Sheppard

 

“In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike.”
Paulo Coelho

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
Photography by Tracy Sheppard

Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods and listen to the magic whispers of old trees.

Author Unknown

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
Photography by Tracy Sheppard

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”

Bruce Lee

 

Photography by Tracy Sheppard
Photography by Tracy Sheppard

“If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully.”

–Matthew Fox