Walking forward

Walking is good for the mind and soul. And the body does pretty well out of it too…

More than running, walking enables us to find a rhythm. A way of being at ease and breathing more deeply, unless it’s up our steep Welsh hills!

It’s a way of finding equilibrium. Of making sense of where we are. Of seeing what is real and not just puffed up imaginings.

It also releases momentum. Walking. Just walking enables us to break free of the sedentary enclosures of our desk or chair. More than just in our bodies.

We will never realise our longings if we expect them to happen to us. Someone else opening the door or giving us the answer.

Walking – actual or metaphorical – is our invitation to move. Not just randomly, but towards. Forward, summoning hope that will grow with each step.

Rilke’s poem Go to the Limits of Your Longing, translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows, captures that journey. It does not promise an easy walk but reminds us why it is worth it.

Go to the Limits of Your Longing

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness*.

Give me your hand.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 59

* Another translation by Leonard Cottrell of this line is:

You’ll know when you arrive
By how real it is.

So let’s walk, my friends.

Walking forward with the confidence that it is worth it.

Thanks for reading


This week

Has been a week of walking. Sometimes for the sheer joy of being out and other times to make sense of our world and where we going.