This beautiful morning I was engaged in a walking meditation through a historical site located just outside my community. The site is an old fort located along the river surrounded by maple trees turning fall shades of burnt umber, reddy rusts, golden yellows and oranges bright and mellow. Walking meditation is a form of meditation in action. You use the experience of walking as the focus and become mindful of the physical, emotional and mental processes occurring in our bodies. This mindful approach helps us to develop greater awareness in staying present and living in the here and now. As you plant your feet upon the earth, you bring awareness to that very experience. Connecting without judgement or worry. allowing your thoughts to float by like clouds on a clear sunny day. Meditative walking to calm and collect yourself, to live more wakefully within your body.
Walking along the pathway, I became aware of the sound of gravel beneath my feet scraping along. The sound seemed foreign among the grassy fields of green, the sun reflecting off the water on the river, the limestone of the old fort and birds zigzagging and singing in nearby trees and shrubs burnt with the autumn sun. It was in this moment that I made the decision to veer off the path onto the fresh earthy grass which had been trodden over by ancestors in years past. My feet felt lighter somehow, spongy, as if the weight of troubles past had somehow eased. My heart grateful that I dared to venture, move into, shift my way, explore. Yes, this is new and lovely. I know because the fresh cool autumn wind is blowing across my face and cheeks and chilling the air entering my lungs. I exhale back to the Universe the energy that is mine stored within.
What happens when we choose to step off the beaten path? And why do we sometimes choose to do so? I think because deep down inside each and every one of us is a quest for the unknown, adventure, learning and experiencing the extraordinary. It is there that we truly find ourselves, things we never knew, what we are capable of if given the chance. There is wonder in the unknown experience we call life. Step off the beaten path. You may find yourself.
In Beauty May I Walk
Navajo Prayer of the Second Day of Night Chant
In beauty may I walk, All day long may I walk, Through the returning seasons, May I walk.
Beautifully will I possess again, Beautifully birds, Beautifully joyous birds.
On the trail marked with pollen, May I walk. With grasshoppers about my feet, May I walk. With dew about my feet, May I walk.
With beauty may I walk. With beauty before me, May I walk. With beauty behind me, May I walk.
With beauty above me, May I walk. With beauty below me, May I walk. With beauty all around me, May I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, May I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, May I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.