If you know me at all you know that I am a book lover. I read mostly non-fiction, and yet reading good novels for me is like taking a walk in the woods. I love it! And remark to myself, “Now why am I not here more often?”
And as much as I love to think, cogitate, ruminate, ponder, I also sense the need for a fully-embodied existence — one that is not just stuck in my head (As Anne Lamott once remarked: “My mind is a bad neighborhood that I shouldn’t go into alone”).
A few years ago I came across a book called “The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD” by Lydia Zylowska. ( I’m what I call UADD. Undiagnosed ADD. (I haven’t been officially labeled ADD, yet my friend Pete who has, laughs (we laugh actually) when I tell about something or other that I did that was ADDesque). He relates.(like nested parenthetical statements 😉 Anyway, each chapter has various practices to help us to slow down and get in touch with and be mindful of our breathing, our bodies, our sensory perception. It’s amazing.
One chapter is about ‘Mindful Walking’. I listened to the Audio portion and as the author spoke I walked very slowly around my dining room table (as she table feeling each step lift up, and the next one land, as I slowed my breath and matched it with my steps. (I know, sounds pretty basic. Like, didn’t you learn this in (or rather, before) kindergarten? ; ) Then I ventured out onto the sidewalk in front of my house -now that I got the gist of it – and proceeded to walk down the block, very…..slowly.
Two things happened that I found fascinating: First, I immediately noticed this feeling in me of impatience: “C’mon already David! Get moving! What’s the hold up! Get to the end of the block already.” I was walking ultra-slow, and wondering if this was even socially acceptable. ; )
Secondly, I noticed SO much vivid detail! Have you had the experience of walking a route that you have driven many times before, and upon walking the same route you notice what you had never seen? You see the radiant tile mosaic near the steps, the blue mailbox that reminds you of your childhood, the green, soft moss in the cracks of the sidewalk. Well here’s what’s amazing, when you walk really slow and mindfully, you notice even more! (And I know I said two things but I suppose there’s a third) I noticed a peacefulness and gratitude filling me. And dare I say, I sensed a subtle flow outward?
I’m wondering now even as I write if this was a still small voice of the Spirit of God that met me that day. And I wonder if that still small voice is speaking through the crocuses, the moss, the smile of the boy in his front yard. I wonder if God and the creation are longing for our greater embodiment – our reincorporation – as we slow down to notice.