In the beginning . . .
Like many of you, when a new year rolls around, I begin to take stock of my life and think about ways to make it better. I think of resolutions I might make like the typical: lose weight, spend less time on the internet or watching television, exercise more, yah-da-yah-da-yah-da.
All these are fine goals but what if we just started living. I mean really living! To me this means being present in each moment. Not reliving the past. Not looking toward the future. Just being present. Fully present. Yun Men said “In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.”
On January 1, 2019, I told myself I’d been wobbling too long. It was time to be in each moment. I’ve dabbled in writing. Had some success with poetry awards. Even published two books. Yet, I often find myself floundering in being creative, in being in the flow of what it means to live a creative life. So, what do I usually do when I need a pick-me-up? I go into the woods.
Walking, hiking, snowshoeing, x-country skiing through the wooded hills near my home always inspires me, calms me, helps me feel present. But I often found myself forgetting all the inspiration the forest held for me once the hike was over. Then what?
Inspiration struck and this time stuck. I realized I needed to STOP while IN nature and write right then and there. It was this ah-ha moment that created WALKandWRITE.
And so it begins . . .
Yes I love acronyms. This is the crux to WALK and WRITE:
W – Walk: to move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once.
Yes, it begins with a walk, a hike, a snowshoe, or whatever means you enjoy most go and get out in nature. You can walk in a park, in the forest, on a beach, or even on the streets where you live; but, in my opinion being in nature is by far the best: Shinrin-Yoku! Look it up.
A – Absorb: to take in or soak up, to take in and assimilate, to engross your attention.
As you walk, begin to absorb your surroundings. Notice. See that tuft of moss over there? Touch it. What color is the sky today? Are the clouds slate gray or absent? How do your feet feel? Is the path level or bumpy? Why not go barefoot? Yes, there is a movement to hike barefoot. Go to: http://www.barefooters.org/barefoot-hiking-2/
L – Look/Listen: (Look) to direct one’s gaze toward something and (Listen) to give one’s attention to a sound.
To look and listen is the key to absorbing your surroundings. Of course, we’ve heard we should use all our five senses to really awaken to the world. While walking, be sure to at least use the senses of sight and hearing. (Smell is pretty darn good too.)
K – Kindle: to arouse or inspire, to awaken. Have I used the word awaken too much yet? Before you can inspire anyone else with your creativity in writing, art, or music you need to kindle your own needs first. Now that you have WALKed with your Absorbed being; Looked
and Listened, not just with your eyes and ears, but with your soul; you have Kindled your spirit and are now ready to WRITE!
W – Write: to compose, to communicate. This is my passion for being creative–to write, compose, communicate. Perhaps you prefer to draw, doodle, zentangle, or paint.
Check out Zentangle at: https://zentangle.com/
Check out Plein Air at: https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-subjects/plein-air/plein-air-art/
I have found writing outdoors after I have walked a mile or for an hour really opens up not only my physical senses, but my inner senses too. My heart is more open to the written word. Ideas seem to rhythmically appear along with the movement of my arms, hips, legs, and feed as they fall into sync with the earth.
Now is the time to write!
R – Read: to look at and comprehend the meaning of, to discern, to understand or interpret the nature or significance of.
As you sit in the “writing” phase of WALK and WRITE, this is the time to take in all that you observed while walking and read this into your writing.
I have also found it helpful to bring a long an inspirational book of quotes, poems, or another piece of writing that speaks to you. So, “read” what you have felt on your walk and also just “read” something you brought along.
I – Imagine: to form a mental image or concept of, to envision or dream, to conceive or visualize.
As you begin to write, use your imagination. Think outside the box. Translate what you have seen, heard, and felt into your heartfelt vision of what you have experienced.
T – Transcend: to be or go beyond the limits or range of, to surpass, eclipse, exceed.
Piggybacking on to Imagine above, go beyond what you consider to be your limit. Anything goes. Perhaps you’ll discover a new way of writing or rediscover an old form of writing such as haikus, cinquains, or pantoums.
E – Evolve/Enlighten: Evolve – to develop, advance, progress, mature, grow, change, expand, transform. Enlighten – to inform, illuminate, to give greater knowledge or insight, to shed light on.
As you experience the WALK and WRITE process, you will certainly evolve in not only your writing/art but also in your spiritual growth. You will become a better you – more peaceful, more at ease, happier, content.
Part of your evolution will be to enlighten others. You may be tempted to just want to experience WALK and WRITE for yourself. That’s well and good, but part of your journey of life is to give a piece of yourself back to the universe. So consider sharing your passions with others. You don’t necessarily have to pursue getting a book written and published, you could share your thoughts or art in a blog like this or enclosed in a “thinking of you card” you send off to someone who has made a difference in your life. The sky’s the limit!
There is no time like the present. What are you waiting for? Get outside. WALK and WRITE! Not only will you find more energy and excitement for your creative passions, but you will also get some exercise for your body, your mind, and your spirit.
May you be filled with loving kindness.
May you be well.
May you be peaceful and at ease.
May you be happy.
I found the above mantra in Budda’s Little Instsruction Book written by Jack Kornfield. As I walk, I find reciting it really opens up my heart to the earth and all that resides in it – man, beast, and all living things. Amen.