Day 4: Walking and Plan B

“Day 4 of What?” you ask? Find out. It’s not too late to join us, if you feel called. And thanks for spreading the word: Seeded Earth Studio.

Wisdom from the comments:
Jackie Dishner: ” There are books to be written, stories to tell, imaginations to build in all my journals. I think of them as extensions of myself.”

Krystyna Rawicz: “I used to be terrified that my children would read what I write in my journal. How strange. Terrified my own children might see me.”

Daien: “Yesterday’s writing brought up such a surprise. I read back over the intentions, and as I put pen to beautiful rough brown paper, my body began to tell me a story about itself that I’d never listened to before. Seriously? My teeth at war with my stomach, my heart bruised and tired of intervening between the two? Such epic revelations, resulting in a much more tender carriage of my entire self yesterday and beginning again today.”

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Walking is a wonderful activity. I first did it as a substitute for running. I like

Palm: growing and dying at the same time.

walking. Seeing plants up close; hearing coyotes, owls, cicadas; smelling trees lose their leaves and rain in the distance—it became a conversation between nature and me, between the desert exhaling dawn into the dark, and me exhaling as I walk.

In early September, when it is still  hot enough to suffocate a gnat, you can feel the days growing shorter. It February, when the cold gnaws at your joints, the dawn comes earlier. Walking is the only hope I allow myself, and it is a generous gift.

Many people in this group do not live in a warm climate. I moved into one. Phoenix is on the Sonoran Desert floor, at 1,000 feet above sea level. We have four seasons, but they are subtle. Hell spends the summer here; we bring in our outdoor plants in early June to protect them from the heat. We are starting to pick our oranges and grapefruits now.

Eventually walking became my way of meditating. There is nothing special–no slow motion stepping, no extravagant arm movements. This is meditation of my own device–walking, being fully present, not concentrating on the day ahead but on the flow of time around me.

The last two days have been windy and raining, and as I don’t own a raincoat, I didn’t walk outside. This makes me cranky, but I realized that many of the people on the journey with me face high winds, driving snow and tree-cracking cold. Many of you may have a Plan B for bad weather.

Here is where it gets interesting. There is substitute exercise, but for me, it is more important to create a substitute meditation. As Krystyna Rawicz wrote, “I nearly gave up on the meditation, then decided it was ok to do it lying in my warm and comfy bed. The idea of hatching myself arose as a result. Maybe because of the warmth.”

Walking meditation has become so much part of my morning, that the first time I substituted only exercise I realized that it was not exercise I craved, it was mental silence. If I can’t walk, I still meditate. I sit in a chair in my studio, no music, no TV, no “background noise” machine. I place my hands over my eyes, palm toward my face, so my eyes are cushioned by the section of my palm right beneath the fingers. In that way, my palms support my cheeks, and I sit in silence and feel the world getting lighter–both literally, as dawn comes, and metaphorically, as I let go and float.

Because these 30 days will covers days of bad weather and limited tolerance for cold, a Plan B is a good idea. Share one when you discover it.

–Quinn McDonald and a group of explorers are on a 30-day journey to the source of creativity within ourselves. Quinn is the author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art.