- “A Fresh Start”
- “A Different Landscape”
- “A Race to the Top”
- “Remnants of the Past”
- “It All Flows Together”
- “Life Abundant”
- “Home, Safe Home”
- “Tale of Two Habitats”
- “Room for Me”
A walk doesn’t stand on its own – all of the elements that are nearby can be used to punctuate your meditation, to give it a unique flavor that’s tied to a specific location. I often take into account signage, boardwalks/bridges, intersecting paths/roads, stairs/switchbacks, etc. to add a unique focus or rhythm to a walk, or to shift to another segment of my walk (e.g., from release to silence, or from silence to gratitude). I’ve used bridges to recite a special affirmation, stairs to focus on a key quality (e.g., peace, love, faith), and bridge crossings as a place to pause and set intention for the next segment of the walk.
At one of the local parks, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, NC, the trails had numbered signs that correlated to secret-decoder trail guides to learn more about plants and animals in the area. When I first started walking there I used each numbered sign to kick off a gratitude as I walked the short Swift Creek Loop Trail for the 3rd lap (I used the 1st lap around for release and the 2nd lap around for silence) of my meditation walk. With 14 signs along that trail, I embraced 14 different gratitudes to finish out my walk.
Then, earlier this year, these signs magically morphed from numbers (and the need for trail guides) to titles, pictures and descriptions as part of the signs themselves. Sure, sure – one could easily keep with the same practice as before, but on closer look a new magic had been added. Although the signs were still about the nearby plants and animals, they could just as easily be about oneself and one’s journey through life – sometimes with a “direct hit” and other times in a more metaphysically-speaking way. Here’s a sampling of the sign titles (I kid you not!):
So, what started out as a simple, sign-based gratitude practice has now morphed into a more thoughtful, sign-based guided meditation – what do these mean in terms of my life? I am both amazed and delighted by this shift.
Leslie Gernon is an outdoor guide (i.e., shinrin-yoku walks, wellness walks, and labyrinth events), counselor