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How to Walk, Kiss, and Pray

All at the same time


Close-up of bee on yellow centre of pink cosmos flower.
A bee on a cosmos flower at Evergreen, walking, kissing, and praying - all at the same time.

Have you ever managed to walk, kiss, and pray - all at the same time?


Here's how to do it.


Most of us start walking by the time we’re one year old, and then we just keep on walking until we die.

 

Walking is something we do without thinking. And usually when we walk, what we’re thinking about is our destination.

 

When I walk from my writing room to the kitchen island bench at noon to make my lunch, which takes exactly twenty-two steps, can you guess what I’m thinking? I’m thinking about what I’ll do when I get there.

 

Let me see, now, crackers with avocado. Yum. With a bit of gherkin and cheese. Maybe I’ll follow that up with a dried fig and a handful of cashews, or one of those berry muffins warmed up and topped with cold butter. Ah, here I am at the kitchen island. Now I’ll make my lunch.

 

But as I make my lunch, I’m not concentrating on the avocado as I spread it thickly on crackers. I’m thinking about eating it. And later, while eating a mouthful, I’m thinking about swallowing it to make room for another bite.

 

And so my day unfolds as I “live” ahead of myself. But I’m not really living. All I’m doing is fantasizing in my head. I’m not in my body, living each rich moment fully.


How to Walk

 

Over the last two days I’ve read three references to walking, and each of them emphasized the need for me to be present while doing so. I’m taking this as a heavy suggestion from the universe and thought I’d share it with you.

 

Here is the first quote, from Thich Nhat Nanh:

 

When we walk like we are rushing we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth. Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.

 

I tend to rush when I walk, so there must be a lot of anxiety and sorrow drummed into the laminate flooring between my writing room and the kitchen.

 

The second quote is from Steve Taylor, in his book Spiritual Science: Why Science Needs Spirituality to Make Sense of the World. On page 20 he quotes Black Elk – a Lakota holy man:

 

Every step that we take upon the Earth should be done in a sacred manner; every step should be taken as a prayer.

 

I look at the laminate floor again. I vacuumed it this morning. I’ve never thought of praying as I walked across its expanse.

 

And the final quote, another one from Thich Nhat Nanh:

 

People say walking on water is a miracle. But to me walking peacefully on earth is the real miracle.

Today I will start walking differently.

 

  • I will feel my feet as they connect with the floor or ground.

  • I will walk with peace and serenity.

  • I will kiss the earth with every step I take.

  • I will make each step a prayer.

 

Doing all this at once seems impossible.

 

I imagine tripping over my feet as I try.

 

But really, I only have to do one thing, and the rest will follow.

 

I just have to be conscious of my feet with every step I take.

 

Time to make lunch. So, it’s time to take those twenty-two steps to the kitchen island bench consciously.

 

Here I go. Wish me luck!

 

Love, Marlane


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