I do not write this in a spirit of sourness or personal disappointment of any kind, nor do I have any romantic attachment to suffering as a source of insight or virtue. On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness and, better yet, joy. In my own vision of utopia, there is not only more comfort, and security for everyone — better jobs, health care, and so forth — there are also more parties, festivities, and opportunities for dancing in the streets. Once our basic material needs are met — in my utopia, anyway — life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute. But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it. We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world. And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.
~ Barbara Ehrenreich, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America
It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi
Walking, in particular drifting, or strolling, is already — with the speed of culture of our time — a kind of resistance… A very immediate method for unfolding stories.
~ Francis Alys
For so many people throughout space and time, a walk has been a productive, vibrant way to step away from everyday life and gain a refreshed perspective. Aristotle and the peripatetic philosophers walked as a way to inquire philosophically and to educate others. In preparation for his ministry, Jesus walked through the desert for forty days. The Buddha walked for years before he found enlightenment. Indigenous Australians memorized and passed down songlines to trace and communicate invisible pathways across the continent, marking their ancestors’ routes and guiding them across a vast continent. Walkers have walked to gain a sense of place, to improve well-being, to harness attention, to cultivate awareness, to gain new experiences, to explore new territories, to march for freedom, and to express care and devotion for others.
… May we all show up for this magnificent world and its inhabitants as we walk, kissing the very earth with our footsteps.
~ Bonnie Smith Whitehouse, Afoot and Lighthearted: A Journal for Mindful Walking
The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also.
~ G. K. Chesterton
The hummingbird may be the smallest of birds, but it is also the most fascinating. Anyone who has ever seen this tiny bird is filled with a sense of wonder and joy. Its name comes from the vibration of its wings as it flies or hovers. We have all heard how good it is to whistle while we work, but humming is much more effective. It creates an internal massage, restoring health and balance. This the hummingbird reminds us to do. It reminds us to find joy in what we do and to sing it out.
… Hummingbirds have knowledge of how to use flowers for healing. This includes their fragrance, their color, and herbal qualities as well. They can teach you how to draw the life essence from them and create your own medicines — as in the case of Bach flower remedies and other flower elixirs. They can teach you how to use flowers to heal and win hearts in love.
… No other bird can fly backwards. This reflects hummingbird’s ability to explore the past and to draw from it the nectars of joy. The hummingbird can help you find joy and sweetness in any situation. Its swiftness is always a reminder to grab joy while you can — as quickly as you can.
… the hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible. It will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
… The rabbit is known for its ability to procreate, its fleetness, its ability to make great leaps and hops. It moves primarily by hops and leaps, and individuals with this totem find that their endeavors do so as well. All of these characteristics are significant for those with this totem.
… Although some associate fear with the rabbit, it has wonderful abilities for defense. Those with this totem would do well to apply them to their own life. Rabbits often create forms to use for hiding and resting. To create a form, the rabbit scratches a shallow bowl into the earth or grass that is open in front and in back to enable it to escape if necessary. Rabbit people should plan for possibilities. If a rabbit has shown up, it may indicate a need to do some more planning or check those you have already set in motion. You do not want to box yourself into a corner. Rabbits have a knack for avoiding being seen. They can freeze, holding perfectly still. They know that movement can be detected from great distances by many predators. If you are involved in competition — in work or in play — it will be important not to foreshadow your moves.
Rabbits are also clever at doubling back, making quick and rapid turns. If they need to flee they can be extremely fast. Learning to shift from freezing to great speed is something all with this totem should learn. It will aid your success and enable you to take advantage of opportunities that may only present themselves for brief moments.
Rabbits are vegetarians. Those with this totem need to examine the kinds of foods being consumed. For the greatest health and healing, a vegetarian diet, even if only temporary, will strengthen and heal.
Rabbit can show you how to recognize the signs around you. It can help you to attune to the lunar cycle and recognize the tides of movement within your life. This in turn will enable you to become even more fertile in your life.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions. Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are able to bring gentleness and grace in every aspects of your life, even in the most challenging moments. By inspiration from the deer’s qualities, you can achieve ambitious goals and tackle difficult situation smoothly with a touch of gentleness and grace.
The deer spirit animal will remind you to be gentle with yourself and others. The grace and gentleness characteristic of this spirit animal echo the qualities brought forth when living from the heart. For example, the traditional symbol used for the heart chakra has the deer (sometimes also represented as an antelope) as emblematic animal of the energy of love and harmony with oneself and others.
~ Elena Harris