I have been doing a lot more reading lately and had almost forgotten how good it feels. The influx of new information and stories are such a healing thing for your soul, especially when you are facing stress or feel like you have been stuck in a rut. I have been reading all kinds of things from articles on meditation and mindfulness to books on nutrition and even on the phenomenon that is our reading brain. I came across a great little site called Rewire me and began reading the free e-book they send you upon subscribing to their newsletter. The stories and articles so far are very personal and enlightening ones. There is one in particular that I have already been able to put to use in my personal journey towards inner peace. This article explains how to rewire your day with a Haiku walk. I have always seen haiku poetry as being a little cheesy, mainly because I never felt natural when trying to compose a Haiku but I also strongly believe that writing is a very healing practice and anything that helps spur the thinking and writing process in times of stress and trial is a good thing, so I gave it a shot. According to the author, Resa Alboher, a Haiku Walk is broken up into three parts.
The first part is the warm up. During this time you begin to let go of any worries or concerns like deadlines and bills coming due. Focus rather on your breathing and becoming more present in the current moment or the “now”. You can do a warm up Haiku at this time too, jotting down whatever comes to mind. The traditional Haiku is composed of three lines, the first line having 5 syllables, the second having 7, and the third line with 5 syllables. For me I took this time to look out my window to the weather outside that was actually very beautiful and bright and calming in its own natural way.
Such bright green tree leaves
but the pollen this I hate
beautiful yet harsh
The second part is the walk. Traditionally in Japan, these walks are held in places of historical or cultural significance or in an area of natural beauty. Not all of us have areas like this readily available in walking distance, especially if we are at work during the day looking for a calming option for our lunch break. Luckily, I work on a university campus with a pretty lake and a path leading around it that is perfect for an exercise like this one. It even has benches I can use to sit and write my poetry if I want. As you walk you should put your focus towards noticing the things around you; put your phone on silent in your pocket, or leave it behind in the office if possible and when thoughts of your day or the urge to check your phone arise, reign in your focus, bringing it to your breathing and the things around you as you walk. You can also jot down thoughts as you walk.
Be still yet my soul
Exhale all negative thoughts
Inhale only love
The third part of the Haiku walk is the time to wind down. The author cautions not to re-enter your day too quickly and to take the time to find a bench or a place to sit and enjoy the still time, allowing your body and mind to be rewired and become ready for the rest of your day and any challenges it might bring. Resa describes her favorite coffee shop in the article and how she stops and sits with her coffee, jotting down her thoughts and ending with another Haiku. When reading her description, it feels so picturesque and makes me wish for a moment that I lived in the middle of a big city where I could easily walk to a beautiful park and stop for coffee before heading back to work, but then reality kicks in and I remember that I moved out of the big city for a reason- to be away from the rush and hustle and bustle. Instead I find a bench by the lake and jot down my final Haiku before heading back to the office.
Spring is in my soul
The lovely garden planted
Now is time for growth
maybe next time I will stop for coffee…
Peace. Be Well.