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A Walk Can Change Everything

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.

-Wallace Stevens

I began my pilgrimage in Rome arriving late at night after my flight was delayed by several hours and I was bumped to a later connection.  The first day of the World Congress of Benedictine Oblates was very full.  I remember feeling filled with anticipation and also drained from the long travel.  The Congress was held at a conference center on the outskirts of Rome, a beautiful setting.   That first evening I took a long slow walk around the perimeter of the property.  The evening light was illuminating the world around me and with each step I could feel my body more grounded and present.  With that walk I felt my whole perspective shifting and opening.   I walked for hours and hours during this time away and truth ripened in me with each step.

As I return to Seattle, I again am experiencing the drain of jet lag.  With the marvel and speed of modern air travel I wonder if our bodies can be transported faster than our souls can keep up with.  Again I walk so that I can become more present to this place I find myself in.  It is home, but I see with a new vision, and walking helps me to expand my imagination.  Again, with each step I feel myself arrive, I welcome in the radiance of autumn leaves tumbling to the earth beneath my feet. 

Walking is one of my primary spiritual practices.  For me, it is a way of honoring the seasons of the earth and my spirit.  With each walk I listen for the invitation of the world around me.  Walking is a way of arriving fully to this place, it helps me to arrive to this moment in time and discover the gifts hidden both within and without.  When I find myself feeling stuck for ideas and inspiration or feeling like my perspective has narrowed from fatigue, a walk can change absolutely everything.

(Photo taken on the property of the Salesianum in Rome)

** On Monday, November 2nd the  Abbey Poetry Parties return so please come back for some poetic inspiration and community! **

© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts

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8 Responses

  1. Christine, I so agree with the idea that our bodies arrive before our souls. A remembrance of this possibility will likely help me during my travels in the future. I always feel that I am not quite all “there” when I travel away from home. The practice of touching the ground with my feet and inviting my spirit to be fully in that place will allow me to more fully “be” in that place. Thanks for your insights!


  2. i, too, love the grounding practice of walking. i continue to feel like i am walking between two worlds (at least). today feels very much like an irish ‘thin day’… xoxo

  3. I realised afterwards that I’d never really asked you much about the Congress, or the other part of your trip. Mea culpa.