To walk in beauty

Navajo land
Courtesy: Kevin Red Star

There is an expression “To walk in beauty”, that I heard for the first time some years ago, but more recently has given me a deeper meaning.

My life comrade and big love, Ann, is a soon to be certified Forest Therapy Guide in the practice of Shinrin-Yoko. Whenever Ann is guiding a group in the forest, she invites the participants “to walk in beauty”, meaning leaving the place in the same or better condition as it was before.

This means treading in the forest with respect for its flora and fauna, and making sure not to harm or disturb any of the life conditions there, e.g. making sure not to tear up the mosses from the rocks or be careful not to throw away a piece of wood that may be an insect nest. But it could also literally be seen as picking up the litter (pardon the pun), such as old beer cans and plastic wrappings.

This is a beautiful thing to do, and if practiced more broadly would mean a considerably better nature for all of us to enjoy.

But during some recent guided walks with Ann, and being on my own in the forest, I have also been reflecting more and more on the inner essence of the expression, and gradually “walking in beauty”, has to me come to have a wider meaning that could be applied to all aspects of life.

We are living in a world with so much evil and cruelty, where kindness and truth are becoming increasingly relative concepts among those having the power.

To remain decent human beings, i.e. “to walk in beauty” and leave not only the forest but also the world in a little better shape than in was before, is therefore becoming increasingly important as a counterbalance to the negative forces around us.

With the narrow viewpoint from my own social media channels, I’m so happy to everyday see so many individuals, sharing their own and others’ inspirational actions. All these persons are truly walking in beauty.

Being an inquisitive person, I also searched the Internet for the expression and found the following heart-warming Navajo prayer.

In beauty may I walk;
All day long may I walk;
Through the returning seasons may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again
Beautifully birds
Beautifully butterflies…

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk;
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk;
With dew around my feet may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With beauty all around me,
may I walk.

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, lively;
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty, living again…
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

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Author: Karl Ekdahl

International public health leader and creativity blogger.

9 thoughts on “To walk in beauty”

  1. Beautiful reflections, beautiful person, the love of your life and touching piece of poetry!

    I appreciate any suggestions or thoughts over the book I’m writing here on the blog, too! Take care of yourselves and value that love. BR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your heart-warming words. I will have a closer look at your blog starting with Chapter 1. So far I’ve only looked at some of the later posts. I’ve been there myself some years ago, and reading your reflections will surly start some thoughts. May the sun shine on you and beauty surround your walk!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kul! Så tacksam och glad.

        I dag planerade jag de följande 11 kapitel. Skriver ett just nu. Har höstlov nästa vecka, så vill skriva jättemycket…

        Tänker bara skriva på nu och redigera det som behövs när berättelsen är klar. Annars går den inte framåt. När boken kommer ut, så får den extra material och små förändringar. 🙂

        Wish me luck?

        Liked by 1 person

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