My Mom loves recounting the story of how as a young toddler of 3, I wandered off a mile from home to watch the Koi in the pond outside our local Fire Station. Needless to say, she was quite shocked upon receiving a phone call from a concerned neighbor thinking they had just seen little ShaSha sauntering along a major street, pom-poms on her signature red hat bouncing back and forth, without an adult.
My Mom states that I’d approached her while she was on the phone and announced I was going for a walk. Busy as she was on the phone, she simply smiled at me and said something like, ‘ok’ and continued on with her conversation, never imaging that I’d actually head out on my own. Some would say that I began my soulstrolling adventures at a young age.
The local Fire Station in my neck of the woods in Vancouver, B.C. had this amazingly fabulous outdoor fish pond, filled with Koi (at least that’s what my childhood memory is). Who knows, they may have simply been very large goldfish. It didn’t matter to me, I loved them. I would spend hours watching them swim back and forth. It was one of my favorite places to go for a stroll. It simply made me happy.
I’ve been strolling ever since. “Long walks, short walks, morning walks, evening walks – whatever form or length it takes. Walking is the best way to get out of your head.” Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been invited to travel and soulstroll in many places in the world. Some have come about because of my own soul’s prompting and longing to travel, others have come through my spouse, family and friends’ welcome.
I’ve carried my soul across the thresholds at Auschwitz and Birkenau because my husband asked me to go. I said ‘yes.’ It was an incredibly sobering and humbling experience and one that I would say yes to again. I’ve snorkeled in Maui, rode an elephant in Jaipur, wandered the grounds of the Taj Mahal, meandered Greenlake in Seattle, and soaked up the heat of the afternoon sun in Costa Rica.
My husband works for Unitus Seed Fund (www.usf.vc) where they have offices both in Seattle, WA and Bangalore, India. And so I find myself responding ‘yes’ to his invitation to travel to Bangalore for an event on Feb. 11.Strolling in Bangalore is very different from my quiet, peaceful, neighborhood in Lake Forest Park, WA. Before my first trip to India a dear friend shared with me, “Sharon, being in India is like watching a movie a minute. Be prepared to have your heart broken.”
My reply to him upon returning was: “Being in India is like watching three movies a minute, my heart was opened and broken, in many ways.” India is a fascinating place filled with color, smell, poverty, beauty, wonder and mystery. The sights, sounds and people intrigue me. How can I carry my soul with openness and awareness and practice being present to all that I see? After all, this is what soulstrolling is about. This time, what might want to draw my eye, stir my heart, ignite my curiosity and imagination? What might break my heart open again? Who knows where my sole/soul may lead?
If SoulStrolling interests you, please consider joining Kayce S. Hughlett and me on our upcoming SoulStrolling pilgrimage to Paris. A few more spots remain: http://www.liveittogiveit.me/soul-strolling/2015/2/12/soul-strolling-a-paris-2015-registration-open-through-21215.html