What do walking meditations have to do with horses and fathers?
Son, brother, father, lover, friend. There is room in the heart for all the affections, as there is room in heaven for all the stars. – Victor Hugo
Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I find it funny how a day dedicated to something that I could never be could cause me to think so much about myself. Self-reflection on high, thank you very much.
I had the following thoughts:
“Fathers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”
“Fathers are everything they’re cracked up to be.”
“My dad is the most wonderful dad in the world/my dad is a pain in the ass/I have to remember to call my dad.”
“I hate Hallmark card days.”
“Why hasn’t anyone ever wanted me to be the mother of their kids? What’s wrong with me? What’s their problem?!”
“Father’s Day should be every day, except when they’re acting like jerks then no, it shouldn’t be Father’s Day.”
“I wonder what my father is doing today…”
“I’d make a great step-mom.”
“What am I going to eat for dinner?” (A double burger with cheese, seemed fitting.)
Inspired by these Freudian-level insights I wrote a blog post about fathers. There’s a mention about horses in there, too. I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that it will help you become more mindful and honest about how you think and feel. So honest you’d be willing to tell a crowd of strangers your deepest, darkest taboo secret.
When you’re honest and vulnerable it gives others the courage to the same.
Don’t know where to start to build mindfulness?
Try this walking meditation:
- The next time you go for a walk use it as an opportunity to meditate! Even better: carve out time to go on a 10-minute walking meditation of your neighbourhood.
- Leave your cell phone at home, or keep it in your pocket with the ringer on silent.
- Keep your hands free.
- Walk at naturally for a few minutes. Observe the souls of your feet. Notice how you plant your feet, which parts hit the ground first and last, which foot you favour, and whether you roll to the insides or outsides of your feet.
- Then slow down your pace. Waaaaaaay down. Walk painfully slow. What do you notice now that you didn’t notice before?
- Now, speed walk. Notice what happens when you have less time to knit-pick about the details.
Once you master the walking part practice being mindful of other things in your environment, i.e.g, the sights, smells, and feelings around you. These are the fundamentals of mindfulness meditation.
- Extra variation for the bold: perform the Ministry of Silly Walks.
- Bonus: practice the meditation barefoot. The grass is made for walking on, damn it!
Here’s to being more mindful and honest.
Cheers to fathers!