Ordinary Times: Walking

I had this wonderful plan to talk about the Ordinary things in Ordinary Times.  Those things we take for granted, but are so important and nourishing for us.  Rest.  Food.  Sleep.  Prayer.  Nature.  Breath.  Rituals. Those things we make no time for.  We know this, because last week’s visit with Ordinary Rest resonated (on both sides of needing to hear and not wanting to hear) with so many of you. 

Then, I spent this week immersing myself in some deep studies and conversations of theology, stories, medicine, ethics, morality…

How can we talk about ordinary things, when there are so many extraordinary things to talk about.  Mind-blowing things. Immortality. A friend of mine calls these small things that become big in thought and conversation: “Gems I have heard recently”.  Little nuggets to chew on.  I wanted to share everything.  I made lists of things to talk about.  Then felt ambitious. Things to save for later.  Things on the maybe list.  Things that I should ponder myself for a while….

I was filled with so much enthusiasm and excitement.  What to choose?  When was the best timing?  How to plan?  Where to begin?  I was swirling and churning with so much good stuff.  It was awakening…then…

I ended up in that place of everything and…then nothing.  I had no idea where to begin or what to do.  I was too full and my mind was rushing.  

I went for a walk.  An ordinary thing.  

I saw the flowers blooming and my feet suddenly felt planted firmly on the ground.  My mind followed and all those churning yes, no, when, how, which settled into Quiet.  My head had found a place to settle.  Yes, it was still teeming with wonderful thoughts and ideas, but it was also calm and at peace.  The library of my mind felt sorted and manageable.  I could almost feel the reading: “and Mary took it all in and pondered it in her heart”.  

A pause.  After every busy, we need a pause.  Rest; but that was last week.  Now?  An ordinary walk.  

It’s a natural rhythm, this pause.  We are unable to sustain go, go, go in mind or in body.  We are unable to sustain unhealthy stillness in body or mind.  We are meant to move thru the dynamics of movement and stillness.  Rhythms and transitions.  And, because we’re all dynamic characters with different stories, we don’t all need the same amount of pause or the same amount of action.  Some need more rest. Some need more action.  And…to make it even more challenging, our rhythms change over the course of our life and each year, so our relationship to rest and action, changes.  It’s not easy and busy is so very sneaksy.  

Aside: we talked a lot about “busy” last week and my favorite new phrase is: “internalized capitalism”.  I’d never heard of it.  Perhaps it is a “gem”.  It’s this idea what we have internalized the idea that we are only worth what we do and has monetary value (or stuff/tangible value) and we feel guilt and shame when we stop and rest because it has no “value”.  That stopping is a waste.  A waste of…what?  A “gem” to ponder.  How does this possibly show up in your life and take you away from the beautiful work of Grace?  

We often don’t know our own cyclical needs.  We don’t realized we’re spiraled up, until we’re wired and tired.  We often don’t realize that we’re in too much of a pause, until we’re stuck.  

The answer?  Or an answer?  It’s in the ordinary.  The Sacred Walk.  That Sabbath Walk.  Time to ground ourselves in the tangible gifts of God to reset our hearts and minds to what truly matters.  

We go outside of our ordinary to the extraordinary ordinary.  The wind and sky and earth.  Mushrooms.  I always see mushrooms as seeming proof in a God that means us to be awed and wowed in the ordinary.  There are new ones I’ve never seen every time.  Flowers; those blooms are so exciting every single year.  Ever ponder how a tree grows and bends to light and challenges?  

We see the tall and the small.  The magnificent and the ordinary.  The moon and the sun.  The light and the shadow.  The waves and the rocks.  The flowers as they bud and bloom and die.  

We see the weather ebb and flow.  The seasons ebb and flow.  (How often do you suddenly realize you missed the blooming of the (blank) or the whole turning of a season and it’s suddenly fall…or winter…or summer?)

With walking, we connect to the ebb and flow. The gifts and gratitude.  The slow and ordinary things that are the tangible beauties of being alive.  We settle in and it settles us.  We connect to wonder and rhythm and Grace.  

We attune to the delicate rhythm and balance to know when to give and when to receive.  When to tell a story and when to listen to a story.  When to speak and when to be silent.  When to work and when to play.  When to study and when it’s time for recess.  When to sing and when to dance.  When to climb and when to cloud-gaze. What to let go of and what to let in.  We find our own balance, because to every thing there is a season.  

Walking connects us to the rhythms of nature, our body, and God.  It is a bit of active stillness. Teaching us to focus in the mess.  Be still and Listen to the quiet voice of God. Take ourselves out of the messiness of our surrounding to be blessed with the ordinary magnificent.  Reminded of what’s most important.  

A daily mini pilgrimage that takes us out of the messy rhythms of our householder to dos and must dos and never stops into a world that helps to quiet our hearts and minds for God.  If only we let it. 

What might you find on a Sacred Walk?  

What might you find in the ordinary extraordinary?  

There is a native myth that tells the story of the nomadic walk from one place to the next.  After days of walking, there’s a certain point when everyone stops and rests for a few days.  When asked why, the story goes: “we’re waiting for our souls to catch up”.  

If we walk too fast, or think too fast, move too fast (from one to-do to the next without pause), maybe we leave our souls behind.  Maybe that’s a “Gem” to ponder?

Walking helps us find our rhythm and the rhythm of our deeper hearts and minds. It sorts out the gunk so that clarity can shine through.  Perhaps it slows us down to allow our Souls to catch up to the pace of our lives.  

Perhaps the Ordinary isn’t so Ordinary.  What might you find on a Sacred Walk?   

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