I think of the song Saints written by Kim Deal (The Breeders, Last Splash, 1993) every August when the Minnesota State Fair begins. I love the fair. Always have. This year in the midst of my quest for mindfulness, I found myself focusing on the lyric above and thinking about it from a different perspective. Despite going nowhere I focused on doing it with intention. I thought about my place in the crowd and the people I passed. I reflected on how I felt. My experience was much more relaxed and easy going. I recognized others who appeared frantic and stressed. I sat on a bench, not because I was tired or needed to. I sat just to sit. It was a good day.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
Balance is a simple concept. In yoga class, when I try to accomplish a balance pose I soften my gaze and concentrate on one spot somewhere in front of me. I root myself to the ground and think about lowering my center of gravity while imagining my head extending out with energy. Some times this works. Some times it does not. It really depends on the day. Balance is not something that comes without effort and thought.
Right now I do not feel balance. I walk through the garden. Our tomatoes have blight. They are trying to find balance. I wonder what it is that I need to feel level. One less commitment? One less desire? One less thought? Perhaps balance is not in ‘one less’ but in the ability to steady with what is and not let it knock you off level. It is easy to find peace of mind in solitude. It is easy to balance less. I think the challenge is finding peace of mind in the chaos; balance more, better.
When was the last time you took the opportunity to dig your feet in wet sand, or dry sand? My daughter’s day care has a huge outdoor play area. Everyday in the summer when I go to pick her up, I take time to sit and really dig my toes in the sand. They have days when they turn on the hose and let the water create streams in the sand. The kids gather making long trenches in the sand directing the water to the destination desired. I try to remember what it was like to be young; full attention on the task at hand, not driven by distraction. This is the state I strive for.
Ironically, after I snap this picture with the camera on my smart phone, I look up to see a woman walking towards me on the sidewalk, texting incessantly. I find myself thinking, “Geez, put down the phone. WHAT could be that important.”
I wonder about distraction. Are we happier and better off as a society with all of this technology? I know this question has been asked before and will be asked again. I long for the days of rotary dial phones, 5 channels, and Kodak film. I guess it is true, that no matter which generation you belong to, at some point in your life you will reminisce about the ‘simpler times’ of your youth.
My daughters, both under 4, will grow up and find the current state normal. Someday, 20, 30, 40 years from now they will look back and reminisce as well.
While walking with my three year old though a cemetery, I pulled out my cell phone and began to snap pictures of statues, trees, and my daughter playing. As I walked barefoot through the grass, I snapped a few photos of my feet. An idea was beginning to take shape. Not until several days later, when I snapped my second photo of my feet did it occur to me ~ this is something I want to continue doing. Walking with Intention was born.
My goal of Walking with Intention is to post photos of my feet while walking. These snaps are to be reminders to myself and others that in this fast-paced world, very rarely are we aware of our feet as they step on the earth. My hope is to bring intention into my life and yours though my feet.