One of my favorite ways to connect with Earth’s energy is by taking what I call, a “Spirit Walk.” Nothing more or less then a moving meditation, periodically checking in with one of these walks helps me to ground and find gratitude. This energy can be so helpful whether I am getting off track, lost in a drama or looking to find clarity.
By bringing mindful attention to a simple walk, we can create a container in which our own innate wisdom can begin to flow.
We merge with the intelligence of the Earth, which intristincillay knows how to move with the rhythms of life and process things. A simple practice transcends into sacred space. Its simple, free and available at any time. Here’s how to get started.
Take your favorite loop around the neighborhood, get to a great hiking trail or walk along the ocean. Find a place that is convenient enough that you can turn your walk into a weekly or even daily ritual. If you’re on a beach or a place its comfortable to do so, try walking barefoot. Research conducted by Dr. Frank Sinatra for the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concludes,
“Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth… being outside barefoot ….may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hypercoagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”
Leave the phone at home! No electronics.
I love a great playlist, podcast or audio book, all of which have their own medicine, but a spirit walk is about placing our mindful attention on the present and our surroundings. We want to engage our senses with the right now. Focusing on audio, other then the breath, moves our attention into the mind. As a runner, I was taught to never run with music for several reasons which coincide with the same princples we’ll be applying here. When we are focused on the music (or other audio stimulation), our attention often gets wrapped up in a memory we associate with the song. This movement into the mind and the past, disconnects us from the wisdom of the body and we may miss its signals. Most importantly, it takes us away from focusing on our breath. The breath, our most powerful tool for connecting into the present, also is an instrument to tell us how we are doing. Is our breathe shallow and short or long and deep?
The say the quality of the life can be measured by the quality of the breath. Notice what is your breath saying about you?
Connect to the Wisdom of Nature.
All around us we can see the wisdom and cycles of nature. Observing these natural rhythms helps attune us to our own universal rhythm. This is the sacred feminine. We watch flowers grow, bloom and fade adhering to the natural progression and cycles of life. Just as Winter rescinds into Spring, there are natural cycles to our lives, in which we must learn to allow ourselves to be immersed with the lesson of the season. Some times are meant for retreat, reflection and rest, otherwise known as Winter. While other times new beginnings and energy form as we dance with the energy of Spring. When we understand these rhythms we are more able to flow with its wisdom, rather then adhering to our conditioning which is always pushing for more productivity. We can naturally feel when its time to push through and produce and when its time to rest, process or receive. Use your walk to observe whats currently happening in nature and how it may coincide to how you are feeling inside. What guidance can it offer you in your current situation?
Observe your mind.
Just like a seated meditation practice, our mind will naturally wonder. Before you know it you’ll be back to making to-do lists in your head or recounting that argument with your loved one. When you notice this happening, realease any judgement about losing focus and simply bring your mind back to the present moment. Back to observing your surroundings. Or you may want to silently repeat the mantra, “Om prith vigai namah” (we bow to Mother Earth).
Create an offering.
Collect beautiful bits of nature along the way. Perhaps you find a feather, shell, walking stick, pine cone, petals or flowers that speak to you. Gather things that reflect a certain quality or aspect you’d like to cultivate. For instance, perhaps a flower bud represents a new beginning or a feather acts as a marker that you are on your right path. Returning home you may choose to organize them into a mandala or perhaps add them to a bowl on your alter.
When you return home take note of how you feel. Is your body more alive? Is your mind more at peace? Write down three observations you made about your natural surrounding that can help you live more in with the rhythms of nature.