I Went for a Walk

Barbara Janelle M.A.

Previously Unpublished

Summer, 1997

I went for a walk down the back road the other day, intent on seeing birds and animals. I went with a goal and that kept me from seeing the beauty all around me. The busyness in my mind attracted a pair of deer flies. I became so intent on avoiding their landings that a half-mile had gone by before I even noticed the trees around me. Even though I knew I was missing the beauty of the woods, I still kept going, busy in mind and swatting at deer flies. One brief moment, I saw a goldfinch tail feather on the path at my feet, and recognized it as a sign to pause and centre. I did not do so, but instead moved on quickly. My walk ended in frustration, with only the memory of a yellow feather.

Later that day, I started out on the lake in my boat. I realized that my mind was still very busy, but this time I breathed and consciously let the inner chatter go. The rhythm of the water, the brief gusts of wind, the changing wave patterns helped me focus too. To paddle a small boat across a stretch of wind-blown water requires attention.

Between the islands, I coasted slowly, seeing the signs of the beaver’s work: several birches prepared for felling. I spotted the pair of Black Ducks through the binoculars and watched them for a while.

The wind picked up and the sky clouded over, as it does so quickly here on Stephen’s Pond in Maine. The hills to the west hide the coming weather, so its arrival is always a surprise! My twenty-minute paddle back to the dock, with flashes of lightning a ways off, was an exercise in concentration–mind the waves and get home fast.

I can still see the beaver’s trees, the Black Ducks, the cloud-covered marsh, the lightning flashes, and the dark waves, in my mind. I was so centered, felt everything so deeply, that the rhythm of the lake and the shore and the birds are still a part of me.

The next morning, I went for a walk again–well-coated in insect repellent. I felt each step and saw the birds, and felt the history of the underlying rock. I explored with a grounded awareness. I caught the glimpse of the big hawk as it flew soundlessly up from the clearing in the woods. I sat on a log and heard at first, then saw the shrew moving among the other logs. And I felt deeply at peace.

Another bright morning, a few days later, I took my morning journal to the back pond. Again, well-coated with repellent, I sat and wrote and watched and listened to the inner voice. I thought of the experiences in the woods and on the lake, knew they were exercises in centering and grounding.

Awareness and Trust

Centeredness is a state of being peaceful. It is a quiet trust that leaves doubt and busyness behind. It is without goal, but is fully involved in process. It comes with heightened awareness.

How do we enter another’s field and elicit cooperation and trust early, easily, in the treatment? What are the characteristics of my own field that are important factors in this interplay? If we come with busyness, there is no depth of connection. Centering brings us into the moment so that we are fully present in the treatment. To establish trust, we must not threaten. By being at peace, by being peace, we express kindness and can see the good, the beauty in another.

Rhythm and Harmony

I got into the boat one afternoon and asked the inner voice, “Which way?” The wind picked up and blew me northward. I decided to trust and go with it–be one with it. Sometimes it moved the boat slowly, at other times faster.

The wind blew me quietly around a bend in the marsh and the Heron rose in flight before me. Minutes later, a large beaver paddled by less than six meters away. Many times I have gone in search of beaver and failed to find them. When I trust the wind and the inner voice of stillness and peace, the beaver come to me.

Harmony is expressed through flowing, integrated movement. Thoughts flow through. Getting caught on one slows the dance of interaction and rebalance, just as a sharp movement catches the field suddenly and delays its response. All the senses notice things: the response of the field, the movement and location of your hands, my breathing and that of the receiver.

Inner awareness is awake too and the hands move to where they are needed. A picture comes into my mind of offering or balancing energy at another place in the field and when I do that next, the treatment goes so easily, it is like breathing. I pay attention to my own field and recognize mirroring qualities that help me treat another. Is my grounding shifting? Let me check the receiver’s field.

The Gifts of Centering

Awareness, rhythm, harmony, and trust come with centering–an integration of self. We know wholeness when we center.