In the April 29 Reboot Webinar in our free series on using this unusual time for looking ahead, Jaye Smith talked about the power of a walking meditation to bring up one’s subconscious desires for the future. Last week, Nancy Bearg talked about Circle Goals to plan holistically for the year ahead in categories important to you. (see separate blog) We got the order wrong! The walking meditation is first, as we do in our retreats and books. It helps you visualize what you want in life going forward so that you can then plan toward that goal or those goals.

Why a walking meditation? Walking is calming and opens the brain synapses from left to right. Your brain goes from the practical to the more creative side, answering the question “what if?” And taking the time to walk for 30 minutes gives you the free time for thinking about the “what if.”

Jaye laid out the walking meditation process. A walking meditation begins with your writing down a question that becomes your mantra for the walk. Your question can be about what your ideal life look like in 12 months, or what will my retirement look like, or where will I be living or what new things do I want to do that connect to my life’s passion, or whatever you are wondering about or a question you would like to have an answer for.

Keep saying it as you walk. What comes to mind? You might see things that you make a metaphorical connection to: a bridge, trees, flowers, dogs, clouds, colors, light, sand, people. . .Focus on the images, thoughts, and ideas that form as you are walking and letting your mind wonder and imagine. There is no judgment. Whatever you come up with is good. If you are surprised by what you imagine, sit with it and think about the connections to your past and other ideas you might have had. Take time to sit quietly and write it down afterward. You might be surprised at how meaningful or clarifying it is, even if the result is peppered with more questions.

Jaye also led us through a guided meditation, asking us to get into a comfortable sitting position and take three deep breaths to ground ourselves. She posed the questions below. Perhaps you can record yourself reading the following slowly, then listening to it as you place yourself in a future place and time. Once completed, you should write down your thoughts in your journal or place you can return to.

  • As you wake up in the morning, what do you see? Is there someone with you?
  • When you look out the window what do you see?
  • What do you do in the morning: exercise, read, eat breakfast, coffee?
  • As you prepare for the day and you begin dressing, what are you wearing? Business clothes, more comfortable clothing?
  • Do you head out of the house or stay at home? Working or not? When you do go to a location, how do you get there: car, walk, cycle, bus, subway?
  • When you arrive, what is the place like? What are you looking forward to today?
  • As you go through your day, what are you doing that gives you pleasure? Who are you with?
  • As your day winds down, and looking back over your day, what do you appreciate most?
  • You are back at home relaxing and thinking about your day. What are you grateful for?
  • What will you look forward to tomorrow?

Both types of visualization and meditative practices are effective. Take some time to do either. Most people report that they prefer the walking meditation. The movement really does help as does being in nature, walking silently and without other distractions.

Allow yourself to dream and imagine what’s possible. Your dreams can become a reality as they crystalize and as you gain clarity on the direction of your goals.