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Journey Into Wholeness

Photo by Professor Thorne

Every year at this time I look forward to reuniting with my Beyond Yes family and the wisdom and insight of Erica Ariel Fox. This year Erica hit a homerun out of the park and into the far reaches of the Bronx at her annual summer learning forum. Held at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, her “Journey Into Wholeness” is always a refreshing and centering experience. At least six times a year, Erica offers lawyers, educators, and corporate and governmental leaders an opportunity to go ‘beyond yes.’

This weekend we learned an ancient wisdom practice, which in Hebrew is called Hitbodedut.  Similar to the Buddhist practice of walking meditation, or  “aimless wandering,” it involves taking a solitary walk while voicing aloud one’s present pressing concerns. I’ve always been a big fan of the character Tevye, from Fiddler On The Roof, and recall his tirade to God concerning his birth as a poor man, and how he would have enjoyed life as a rich man.  I didn’t realize that this is an example of Hitbodedut. The ancient practice involves conscious conversation, listening, reflection, and discovery.

As an exercise, we were each given small cups of birdseed, and instructed to walk alone in the nearby forest.  As we walked, we sprinkled the seeds, discarding that which needed to be discarded, and planting that which needed to be planted. Seeds are full of life – some need to be discarded, but some need to multiply and grow. The exercise was powerful, enlightening, and it filled my heart with joy.

We all carry negative baggage. Internal obstacles, unresolved conflict from childhood, repressed emotions – we all have them; it’s part of our legacy as humans. Yet there is a remedy. We have recourse. There are solutions to the complex equations each of us internalize. Walking in a beautiful, sun-filled, new morning dew amongst the grass, the trees, the flowers, and the animals, ministers to our damaged, fragile, internal selves. A walk in the midst of nature’s beauty is healing in a way that is hard to imagine. To consciously and purposefully discharge the pain, the confusion, and the conflict is energizing and healing. Looking forward to a new possibility, a new future, and a new opportunity is invigorating, exciting, and worthwhile. I encourage you to consider incorporating this wonderful practice into your life.

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