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It's Just Walking, Right?

Walk mindfully to avoid another splinter.

Do I purposefully walk on one board, or do I alternate? Do other people walk as weirdly as me?

My toes crack.

I feel ashamed though I cannot control my bones. My body is not my own.

I have to accept or alter my walking to accommodate others.

Changing stride while counting to 10 once more.

Coyotes howl.

The wind picks up again.

A shiver of cold brings me to the present.

My mind reminds me, “try not to step on her feet.”

Just count to 10.


Feel the spongy board.

Feel the rocks and the leaf painted over so now it is hard,

Yet still I try to break it every time I walk past.


Dull gray painted boards.

Old and creaky.

Chilled in the morning.

Warm during the day.

Cool at night.

Don’t twist your ankle.

Wow…they walk so much better than I do.


Catch the thought.

Recognize the pain in your shoulders.

Rearrange your hands behind your back.

Others are more flexible than I am…judging again.


Hear the wind.

Smell it.

See the pattern in the rock garden.

Smile at Buddha.

Duck your head even though you are not tall enough to hit the tree, judging again…

Push the door open for yourself and others behind you.

Should I be doing that...?

Am I breaking a rule…?

Why do I worry about others breaking the rules…?

Who do I think I am?

And then walk, and breathe, and count, and look at the feet in front of you.

Try not to fall.

Spread your toes, step heel to toe or toe to heel?

The inner battle of every kinhin.

There is no right or wrong in Zen.

You showed up and did it.

Caleb S Reese, PsyD, LP, DBT-LBC™

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