Enjoy this practice, guided by writer and teacher Fabiana Fondevila, as a stand-alone experience or as the sixth of a seven-day series to restore our sense of kinship with nature.
“It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body,
to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you.”
~ John O’Donohue
Summer is a time to revel in the abundance of nature: ample sunlight, balmy breezes, fruits, flowers, and a general sense of delight. Winter offers a more desolate kind of beauty: that of bare branches cut against the sky, birds in clear view, and creatures large and small stocking up and taking refuge. If we set the intention to connect, a daily stroll can become a full-body meditation on the cycles and transformations of our luminous world.
Set out on a tranquil walk or roll with no earphones or distractions. Try to stay present in and to your body, and open up each of your senses to truly notice the aliveness of all that you might pass along the way: animals, trees, plants, insects, the ground you walk on, other people. Engage in silent dialogue with your surroundings by staying present, tuning in, and being curious about what the environment has to share — and what you might learn.
If you’re unable to get outside, you could try a virtual walk or visualize a previous experience in which your senses felt deeply tuned into nature; imagine what the different places you “visit” sound, smell, and even taste like. What is the temperature of the air? How does the sun feel on your skin? Is it windy, balmy or cool? How does it feel to be there?
“We have lost the response of the heart to what is presented to the senses,” said depth psychologist James Hillman, as quoted by Stephen Harrod Buhner. A walk may be the perfect opportunity to reclaim that response. Let yourself be changed by this sensory experience.
We invite you to share your reflections in the space below the author bio.
Enjoy the full seven-day Nourishing Our Nature practice.
Fabiana Fondevila is a writer and teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her latest book, “Where Wonder Lives: Practices for Cultivating the Sacred in Your Daily Life” was published in February 2021. Fabiana teaches online workshops and seminars on living a life of awe and radical aliveness. You can learn more about her offerings at FabianaFondevila.com. She is also a founding member of Vivir Agradecidos, our organizational partner in Argentina.
Image by Andrew Coelho/Pixabay
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Since it is 93 degrees and very humid, my husband and I decided to take a walk virtually – by looking at photos of our 2007 Ingleton Wateralls Trail (7km of walking and hiking). I found an audio with waterfall sounds on the Internet – and had it playing in the background, as we walked photo by photo to the 15 different waterfalls along the trail. While looking at the photos, we tried to remember the cool breezes and clean/crisp air on that August day – 14 years ago – in North Yorkhire, UK. Although it was not as delightful as actually being there – I was filled with a sense of serenity and renewed energy.
Love the John O’Donohue quote!
Here’s Thich Nhat Hahn:
“The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green earth,
dwelling deeply in the present moment and
feeling truly alive.”
As a superannuated septuagenarian I’m blessed to be able to walk for about five miles in the countryside on our doorstep every morning after breakfast. While walking I say silently to myself ‘eyes of wonder’ whenever I need reminding to gaze in awe at the beauty of nature. My walks are essential for my spiritual, mental and physical health, and I’m fond of a pearl of wisdom written by a distinguished British author nearly a century ago. In 1928 George Macaulay Trevelyan, founding president of the Youth Hostels Association in England and Wales, wrote an essay acclaiming the joys of walking which began with these unforgettable words: ‘I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.’
So simple, yet so profound….. walking mindfully
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