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TAKE A HIKE

A visit to www.walking.org and a glimpse at their sidebar item “Walking Shorts” provides not just inspiration, but multiple justifications for taking a hike, or a walk, from Hippocrates’ “Walking is the best medicine” to Nietzche’s “All great thoughts are conceived by walking.”

It’s a form of moving meditation. Sure, every guru says to meditate. But how do you sit still long enough when you’re strung out, stressed out, and about to jump out of your skin?

You don’t. You put your body in motion. And there’s no simpler way to do this than putting one foot in front of the other.

Walking or hiking is also a wonderful way to experience the world around you. Look up. Are there clouds? Cirrus, cumulus (run for shelter!), lenticular? Get a book on clouds and find out what each looks like, and what sort of weather spawns them, as well as what they indicate for the future.

To your left and right. Grassland? Forest? Who do you see living there? Do you see sign of someone, a deer maybe? Who are you likely to see there? Find out! Take your kids or grandkids. Teach them.

Look down. Who was here before you? Was it a big guy in work boots, likely the ranger? Was it a fox? Tracking tells you about the traffic of the trail, human and animal, as well as the recent atmospheric conditions. A coyote won’t make a deep footprint on hard, dry ground.

Taking a hike is also a good time to listen. Not just with the ears on the sides of your head, but with your inner hearing, the part that listens to your subconscious, your Higher Self, your guiding and guardian spirits, and your Higher Power.

Quite often, I find that I know the answer to the question, the solution to the problem, I just haven’t noticed yet that I know. Giving myself time away from the computer and the phones and the incessant clamor of daily life allows that little peep to become a full-blown answer, and allows me to hear it.

Look and listen as you walk. See the signs the Powers that Be are showing you. Yes, humans will make patterns where there are none. But does that pattern awaken knowledge you’ve hidden from yourself? Does the random spill of soda in the parking lot form just the shape you need to corral your runaway thoughts and find the solution to the problem that sent you here in the first place?

After your walk, spend a few minutes integrating your new, or newly relocated, knowledge. Write your thoughts and observations in your journal. Write down what you learned, then go forth and use it!

Listening to Mother Nature Meditation

Breathe in through your nose for a count of ten, then out through your mouth, counting backward from ten. Continue to stare at your focal point. Breathe and stare until your thoughts and your heart rate calm. Let your eyes lose focus. Listen. Pay attention to every sound you hear. Are the cars SUVs or sedans? Are there birds? Wind? What do the trees sound like? The grass?

Become fully aware of your surroundings. Inventory your body. Are your socks soft? Stiff? Not there? Is the ground under you smooth? Feel the uneven textures of the roots, the landscaping, the rocks. Feel the breeze on your skin, and the sun or the humidity. Can you feel the sunscreen on your skin? Smell it?

Let all the sensations go, using only your unfocused vision and your ears. Listen to what your Inner Self is saying. Listen to the world around you, and the world within. Be still and quiet for at least five minutes, then slowly return your focus to your rock or whatever focal point you used. Wiggle your body, head to toe. Feel the wiggles. Stand, centering your weight over your feet. Breathe in and out a few times, listening, looking and feeling as you do. What do you see? Hear? Feel? Note anything that seems to stand out, wanting your attention, and meditate on that later. Read up on any nature phenomena that caught your attention.

Leave an offering of water at the minimum. Reiki or other healing energies are also excellent offerings. Say thank you, silently or aloud, to your meditation area and the forces that live or visited there, then go back to your day.