By Cal Wiebe
WALKING THROUGH life. It’s taken a long time but
I think I’m finally getting somewhere. It’s not that
I’m going anywhere special. I always end up where I started
but I still think I’m making progress… I’d better
I have always found walking therapeutic. The regular rhythm of
movement helps me to clear my head and puts me in touch with my
deeper feelings and values. Four years ago I decided to make walking
a regular part of my weekly routine. At the time I was feeling
overwhelmed by a wide variety of internal and external demands.
I wanted to give myself some time to listen to my life and gather
perspective on it. Walking is the closest thing to meditation
that I experience. I guess it’s my form of eyes-wide-open
I find walking helps facilitate a more contemplative state of
consciousness in me. The natural environment shifts my way of
seeing things. I am startled out of my reverie by encounters with
animals and the landscape. I’ve had encounters with owls,
prairie chickens, muskrats, rabbits, squirrels, deer, woodpeckers
and countless songbirds. I never know what surprises await me
around the next corner. The simplest things capture my attention.
Last fall I stopped dead on the path because of the beauty of
a single, pear-shaped, aspen leaf. The beauty in that shape broke
through my normal way of seeing and beckoned me to be open to
beauty in the rest of my life.
in nature helps me stay in touch with the seasons and gives me
perspective on the seasons of my life. There is hope in knowing
that even on the coldest winter’s day, spring is waiting,
waiting to be born. When spring is born the whole park erupts
with life. Crocuses begin to flower, trees begin to bud and migratory
birds return. Walking weekly in the same park helps me notice
the subtle changes that happen as spring turns into summer.
It is the season of fruits and berries. As I make my way around
the park, I stop at the Saskatoon shrubs and eat my fill of the
ripe berries. Later in summer I grab a handful of chokecherries
as they come into season. The bounty of nature amazes me. I recall
the line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day
our daily bread.” I find in these berries ample evidence
that I am being provided for.
I am even gaining an appreciation for fall and winter. Fall gives
the many splendored leaves. Winter grants those crisp mornings
when new snow has fallen and everything is bathed in white.
I always seem to come back from these walks in a better frame
of mind. My problems don’t evaporate but somehow I find
that I have been given a fresh perspective on them. Sometimes
I discover an insight. At other times I allow myself to feel the
feelings I have been denying. I just come back with a renewed
commitment and resolve to stay the course no matter how difficult
things get. Walking is my prayer. I show up and present myself
to God. I consciously acknowledge that I want to deepen my relationship
with Reality. I trust God to honour my intention even if nothing
spectacular happens on my walks. Just showing up is helpful. Undoubtedly,
I am getting somewhere in my walks. I’m starting to listen
to my life, to creation and to God. Prayerful walking makes life
richer as I listen.