By Carol Reedy Rogero
“Through life, I want to walk gently. I want to treat all of life—the earth and its people—with reverence. I want to remove my shoes in the presence of holy ground. As much as possible, I want to walk in peace.
I want to walk lightly, even joyfully, through whatever days I am given. I want to laugh easily. I want to step carefully in and out of people’s lives and relationships. I don’t want to tread any heavier than necessary.
And throughout life, I think I would like to walk with more humility and less anger, more love and less fear. I want to walk confidently, but without arrogance. I want to walk in deep appreciation. I want to be genuinely thankful for life’s extravagant, yet simple, gifts—a star-splattered night sky or a hot drink on an ice-cold day.
If life is a journey, then how I make that journey is important. How I walk through life.”
This manifesto of sorts really struck me.
I wondered at the enormity of the change our world would “grow through” if each of us woke up every day with the intention to treat all of life, all lives, with reverence and if each of us truly desired to walk in peace. My Native American ancestors lived that way. Of course, there were battles but their intentions were sincere.
If we adopt this mindset, if we instill these kinds of ideas in our children, could we benefit the landscape of our lives today, of all future lives on this planet?
Most of us don’t spend much time contemplating “how” we walk through life. We just walk. No, actually most of us run—from here to there, from this to that, sometimes not even realizing how we got from Point A to Point B. Just relieved that we made it and that the kids have matching shoes on. But what if, what if we made it our intention to slow down? To start with just a minute or two and think about “how” we’re walking—not about our posture or stride but about our comport.
Would we use that time to smile at the gentle breeze that joins the golden ray of sunlight kissing our cheeks as we wait at the crosswalk? As we savor the fresh picked berry, would we remember with gratitude the farmer without whom such sweetness would not touch our tongues? Would we notice the dandelion sprouting from the crack in the pavement, and empathize with the challenges we all sometimes face? Would we admire the strength that some of our journeys require? Would we look beneath the outward appearance and smile and thank the young, transgender stranger who’s holding the door for us? Would we do the same for the burka covered Muslim woman struggling with her bags?
Would we be willing to stare into the eyes of someone we view as different and admit that we see ourselves? Would we think before we speak and judge?
In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, ” and like Anne Frank, I believe that the majority of us humans really are decent, peace loving people, who sometimes don’t take the time to think. We let others do it for us. We subsist on whatever the media outlets feed us, jump on this or that parade float and go with the flow. We often operate on auto pilot, mostly without menace, but mostly without deep thought.
I think it’s time we take a look around and see where that’s gotten us.
Let’s slow down and realize we’re all on this big rotating ball in space together. The “Butterfly Effect” is real. Every-single-thing we do reverberates and dominoes right on down the line. Let’s think and remember that each and every living thing has a place and a value no less than our own; we all have the right to be here, alongside the responsibility to discover our individual gifts and use them to benefit not only ourselves, but the world. Let’s think and remember we all bleed the same and it is often only circumstance that separates us from one another.
Let’s think and teach our children it really is up to us to create the kinder, gentler world we desire. One thoughtful act at a time.
Carol Reedy Rogero is a Sixth Grade teacher by day, second act poet/writer by night, and anytime lover of books and travel. She scours the beach regularly for trash and heart shaped coquina. She blogs at This Pedestrian Life and on Facebook where she hopes readers feel a connection and find something inspirational that speaks to their heart and touches their soul.
Her work has been published in Where Journeys Meet, The Voice of Women’s Poetry, an anthology edited by Catherine Ghosh, and has also been featured on the web at The Tattooed Buddha, Women’s Spiritual Poetry Blogspot, Some Talk of You and Me, Graceful After Midlife, Midlife at the Oasis and at Merakiii.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak