Mindful through Terror


Sweat covered his whole body as he looked for the next handhold. Leaving the safety of the rope far behind, he was now clinging to the rockface like some sort of Spiderman. Experience conquered his fear, but not by much. He focused and found the next hold, propelling himself over the top to safety in a sweaty exhausted heap.  

These days, my experience of walking feels like climbing a rock face.  The walker is like a rope.  Without the rope, I search for handholds (chairs, tables, doors, etc.) and if I cannot find them, I walk while touching a wall. One day in National Airport, I found myself without a wheelchair and needing the restroom. A fellow traveller offered me her strong forearm, a personal handhold.  A saving grace.

My understanding of mindfulness practice includes something called the “sacred pause.” This is a place where a short meditation can happen on the fly with a pause and the mind solely on the present.  “I am standing up now.” “I am taking hold of the walker.” “I am leading with my left leg.” “Step, pause, step, pause, step.”

As I scale my daily mountain, mindfulness emerges from the effort. Walking becomes mediation which becomes quiet peace instead of dread. Don’t look down. Just walk. If we pause, we may find this peace right now. And then the now can become richer as we crest our summits.

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