Creating the space for stillness to reflect on sojourns in life
A few weeks ago, my friend Rob Hardy reached out to me. He knew of my Walks in Nature and asked if I would take a walk with him in nature – by phone. He’d walk in some scenic setting in his home of Tucson, Arizona, and I would take a walk in nature in Louisville.
He’s had a lot going on across the past two years and was facing some pretty momentous life decisions. Also, like me, Rob has felt spiritual longings and a desire for greater commitment to ritual. He said, “With all these changes going on in life, I want to talk with someone. But I don’t have a boss or a significant other. I’m not ready to discuss all of them with my family. You are an excellent and empathetic listener. You’d be the perfect person to discuss them with.” We framed it as “A Spiritual Companionship Walk” – an elevated talk with a best friend, walking a spiritual path side by side. My role was not to solve his challenges or even to assist him in making decisions. I simply created the space for stillness for him to reflect on sojourns in life.
In creating this container, I firmly felt it required time. This wasn’t a squeeze-it-in sort of moment. We needed some time in order to create the proper expanse of space. We scheduled an hour and half. That turned out to be a terrific decision.
I walked down by Waterfront Park, starting by the Big Four Bridge and heading east. Rob and I connected by phone and began our saunter together. Very cool – several times one of us would encounter a beautiful sight, snap a photo and text it to the other. Admittedly, he lives out West so he shared more rawly gorgeous scenery. But I am serious when I tell you that certain vistas along the Ohio River take my breath away. The loveliness of nature elevated the moment.
We walked and talked – and often simply allowed silence to envelope us. Rob and I both left the conversation feeling a profound spiritual attachment - to the moment and to nature. I wrote in my journal that it had been one of the most stirring moments in my life – at once weighty and light.
Rob thanked me for providing this vessel for him. I thanked him for calling upon me for such a personal and deep moment.
I feel like I will take more of these walks in the future.