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Walking Meditation

We attended a wedding yesterday and it was late when I got home. I prepared this post in advance and took a few minutes today to post it. After this, I begin or re-begin sabbath, which was largely a Saturday and Sunday event this week.

When the boys were young, we would get up on weekends and go for a walk. The boys wanted to hold our hands. One son always checked my hands out. He often started with my left hand and I felt his fingers checking my palm. Not finding what he wanted he moved to the right side and completed the search. My right hand is scarred from various events and scar tissue built up leaving a bump. As we walked, our son would hold that hand and now and again rubbed the scar and bump. I don’t know if it was that reassured him, he was reassuring me, a combination of those things, or none of the above. In those moments, it was easy to sense being, linked together and holding hands.

In today’s world, we hurry to get somewhere. It is not clear where somewhere is and we are victims to trying to get out of this moment. Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us we should walk peacefully, not thinking of arriving anywhere but here. When we do this, we walk in peace and walking is peace. In holding hands, we touch each moment and kiss Earth with our feet. We feel Earth through and in our feet, its scars and make it safer for us and Earth.

We see commercials with people holding hands singing about making the world a better place. In hand-holding, we are linked physically and united. It is not an abstraction as we feel other people and Earth in linking and walking.

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

22 responses »

  1. I love the bit you shared about your son and holding your hand.

  2. This is sweet story. A simple act of holding hands as you walk is a real loving jester.

  3. Lovely post! We should be present in the present, because if we let this moment go away, it will never come back.

  4. wonderful post

  5. Perfect-I am just setting out on my walk, which is really a meditation. Love your musings and story of your family here. I often think of kissing the earth as I walk–I am grateful for the additional imagery of blossoms growing in my path. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful “reminder” of mindfulness..thank you! We often forget to touch the earth gently.

  7. Kiss the earth with our feet
    Lift … position … step
    A gateway to groundedness and safety.
    Thank you Ivon.

  8. that happiness is the walk.

    Essence of difference between Eastern and Western mind set. In West we want the destination to the walk. Hard to integrate that the process not the destination is what to be valued most. At times when I “arrived” I was muddled as there was nothing to do anymore.

    • Yes, if each step is its own destination, we can continue the journey. It is interesting that the word journey comes from journee which is French for day. It does not connote an actual length of time. That is jour. It is the time a person spends traveling without a specific destination.

  9. I love that moment you’ve shared – obviously a wonderful son with a lot of care for dad! 🙂 Moments and memories like that are very important to who we are, what we’ve gone through and where we are heading, and that need for connection either holding hands or in other ways is so essential as a human and also animals have the same need. I’ve often thought the internet really shows our need to connect and identify with others, because that’s largely what keeps it so alive, without that need in us to connect, we’d probably have no interest in the internet. It’s not surprising it’s as successful as it is.

    I like the reference to feeling like a victim, trying to get out of this moment – very true! And we can live our whole lives like that, without ever knowing it. To walk in peace not thinking of arriving anywhere but here is an excellent way to think. I just have to keep reminding myself of that, it’s easy to fall back into the trap of feeling I have to be going somewhere.

  10. The story of you and son sharing is so beautiful. It seemed to me that you even remember the sense of his touch as well as the memory itself. I too I understand the sense of beingness in walking, of being aware just of the action and the feeling therein with no intent, just that incredible sense of peace. .

  11. This is an enchanting essay and poem. I know exactly what your son was “feeling” for. The recognition of identifying marks and scars on the bodies of loved ones link us to them. They are a tactile reminder that there is a physical bond between us–like a shared secret. And what you have to say about being in the moment for the moment has been said often before but rarely better. Look forward to reading more of your thoughts…Judy


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