Each step I take is my destination. I AM here now – not in my past, not in my future, only now. Whatever my journey is, I believe I am where I am supposed to be. Everything I have lived has led me to this moment and in accepting this moment, I am whole. This certainly does not mean I will not continue to change and evolve – it just means I love myself for who I am now, not on the condition of who I will become.
Walking meditation teaches me to feel the firmness of the earth. It is the foundation to the strength that is within. In order to make space for peace in my heart and invite peace into my life, I have to make time for peace – make time for stillness so that I may listen to the whispers of the universe.
My freedom comes from my Being. I must allow myself to be without judgement or restriction. In being, I am doing what I was always meant to do.
The less burden I carry, the more I surrender to the wind as it carries me gently with compassion.
Like a tree, I am rooted to the ground, so that I never forget to come home. As a bird flies to experience the gift of its freedom, so does it come back to shelter and nurture amongst the trees.
My breath is my anchor for the storm within. When I observe my breath, everything settles into an ocean of peace and the space for love surrenders to love. My breath takes me within – it brings me home.
My breath cultivates the blooming of my heart. Our hearts are like a garden that must be tended to daily. Underneath are seeds we cannot see. Some seeds sprout into weeds and some bloom into beautiful flowers. We must ensure we are pulling the weeds and nurturing the soil. And the blooms will come unexpectedly, like the gift they are. The work must be done daily or the heart will be entangled with weeds. The night before these flowers bloomed, a Monk had walked by the bare stems. The next morning his eyes received the gift of these beautiful flowers.
I can choose to see myself as water in a cup separate from the ocean. Or I can see myself as part of the vast ocean of life. When I make opportunities to enter into realms of peace, I am creating and widening the space for peace in my heart. And when I see myself as part of the ocean of peace, I begin to understand the purpose in my being. My being propels me to a clear vision of what I am suppose to do with my life.
Look around – this is what life has to offer in its utmost beauty. It gives its all without asking for anything in return. Yet we continue to hope that it will get better. It can’t get better because it’s already perfect. What we think will make our lives better, really won’t. In this moment exists the greatest capacity for love, for happiness, and for peace. In this moment exists the greatest opportunity to rejoice.
The universe gives us the sun to warm our fears, the moon to cool our anxieties, flowers to calm our breath, sky to give us a vision, trees to see the wind, rivers to hear the rocks, and smiles to feel our hearts. And when we smile, the universe receives our love.
I spent a great portion of my life improving what I do and what I have. I’ve worked hard to obtain a college degree and fulfilling jobs, improved my skills and talents, purchased things that made my life more comfortable and effective, traveled in the hopes of learning more about the world and myself, and accomplished many goals that would deem my life successful. Somewhere along the way, however, I realized that I needed to get in touch with a deeper part of myself. I decided to improve who I was (am) rather than what I did or what I had by being more compassionate, caring, loving, and peaceful. So I began to spend more time Being rather than doing.
Be still. Listen. Listen for the instructions and you will be propelled forward. When I am still, my vision becomes clear, my courage unwavering, and my determination relentless. In stillness I no longer have fear of what is to come because I trust that my spirit will guide me to where I need to be. I am learning to surrender to the silence instead of being in control of the noise.
Photographs taken by my daughter Carmen and I at Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, California.