“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Sounds lovely. But what about when we’re on a timetable? We’ve got places to go, things to do. We’ve got to get to the next place before you’re late…
Or do we? … Is there always somewhere we really need to be? Do we really need to get there “on time?” Could that just be a thought? A habit perhaps?
Last Sunday, we took our son to the Humber River for a lovely walk in the woods. Stopping at each place along the river, he had so much fun finding flat stones to throw in the water: his idea of a perfect morning.
“Ok. Let’s keep going. Maybe there’s another beach around the bend,” I say (more than once).
Next stop. After a few minutes.
“Ok. Let’s go. Let’s keep moving.”
Moving to where exactly? To another spot along the river with more flat stones. He’s happy here. Why do I have this need to go there?
On the way home, he decides to walk instead of nap in the stroller. “Come on sweetheart. We need to get to the subway.”
Wait a second. Do we really? It’s Sunday! Why? Why do we need to keep moving? Why do we need to get there? What’s the rush?
Oh yeah. We don’t. It’s just me. This is an example of my tendency to lean forward… onto the next… into the future. My habit. Keep moving… at my pace… This is not the same as his.
After a few moments of him spelling every word on the billboard we are passing, I am beaming with pride.
Then I get it. This is our time together. There is nowhere else we need to be right now. The rest of the week we may need to be getting him to child-care so that we can get to work on time. We are on a schedule. But today is not one of those days. Why not break the habit, step out of auto-rushing mode. Practice being ‘not-busy.’
Sunday was a lovely opportunity and reminder to slow down and linger. Connect. Observe all of the interesting things to see around us, birds, flowers, teeny ants, different, letters on scaffolds… Feel the grass under our feet. Just walk…
I often lament not having enough time to spend with my son and yet, in the moments we have together, I’m often moving through them and onto the next. These arethe moments we have together. Why not slow down and be in them fully? Not only is it a lovely way to connect with my son, but in these moments, he is also my mindfulness teacher.
His example, his way of being invites me to lean back, relax and kiss the earth.