Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour

Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour March 28, 2022

A few years ago, I had the great fortune to meet and be guided in a walking meditation by the one and only, Jonathon Stalls. If you haven’t heard of him yet, I hope the conversation that follows will give you a sense of just how amazing he is. (This is the first part of our conversation; I’ll publish the second part next week.)

Along with being an incredible walking meditation guide, Jonathon is also an artist, social entrepreneur, and advocate for social, economic, racial, and LGBTQ+ justice. He has founded two incredible organizations, Intrinsic Paths and Walk2Connect, and has just recently finished a new book, WALK: Slow Down, Wake Up, and Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour.

 

Walking
Chris Hardy/Unsplash

Andy: I think we first walked together while I was in Albuquerque for The Living School in 2019. I remember how gently and kindly you guided us – it was beautifully unhurried, which is a word I know I’ve heard you use a few times before. What does it mean for you to live in an unhurried way?

 

Jonathon: Thank you for this and I love that we met while moving together at the Living School. For me, it is rooted in moving our bodies the way they are made – in a way that is more open, attentive, and available to what is in us and around us. 

Whether by foot or on a wheelchair, there are so many things calling out to us…in the natural world, in the hearts and stories of others we pass by, and deep inside (our truths, aches, fears, dreams). Moving in a way that is intentionally unhurried or detached from getting to any one destination within a certain amount of time, can be such a gift to recalibrate, open and inspire our thoughts, emotions, dreams, and curiosities.

It also leaves us more available to naturally occurring elements of surprise…Who will we meet? What birds will we hear? What will the stream reveal for us in these moments?

 

Andy: It helps us to reconnect with the world around us…and inside ourselves! Which makes me think about how this practice of unhurried movement might serve as a sort of connective tissue between our inner life and the needs of our society. How do you see walking as a practice that can lead us toward repairing harm in our communities?

 

Jonathon: There are so many things to say here. I will simplify by saying that I literally see unhurried movement, in it of itself, as a form of repair. It just happens. After 20 minutes, a full day, a week, or many months, you release blocks, stress, trauma, and deadweight/ideas into the wind, to back into the soil. You open your heart, lungs, eyes, and souls to the wildness and wonder of all that is around you while also stumbling on thousands of tiny miracles along the way. 

Moving in a humble, unhurried way alongside people you disagree with or are in conflict with starts to thread stories of movement, connection and common ground far beyond the reaches of often silly minds trying to make sense of everything. 

Moving in a humble, unhurried way along a flowing stream gives way to the unknown and our profound, unshakable worthiness. 

We are worthy because we are alive. We are worthy because we breathe. Walking or rolling as a practice helps us see, listen and participate in the world in foundational, intrinsic ways. It isn’t a fad or a new tool. It is radically and fundamentally human and we desperately need it.

 

Andy: This resonates so much with me – I talk with a lot of people about finding an embodied spirituality that engages more than just our brains and helps us to feel connected – worthy – in the depths of our bodies and heartspace. What does embodied spirituality mean to you?

 

Jonathon: It vibrates. It lives, almost entirely, in the wordless dimension. When you sit or move by the rushing river, you know. When you stop and allow tears to form while inviting the bright pink colors of a setting sun, you know. When you really allow the playing of a violin in the streets to pierce your heart, you know. When you move and feel a part of everything, a radical rush of belonging, even if just for a few minutes, you know. 

 

Andy: Thank you so, so much for your words of wisdom here as we explore how our bodies can help connect us with the world and with the Divine. If someone wants to participate in or support your work, where can they find you?

 

Jonathon: Thank you for this! The best way to engage is to follow and connect with my work at Intrinsic Paths. You can sign-up for emails there or follow on social media:

If you want to go deeper together and directly support my capacity to do this work as a “Walking Artist,” becoming a Patron is the best way. Artists in the U.S. often have a really hard time feeling sustained to create freely. Patrons allow me to nourish ALL my projects in such meaningful ways. You can learn more about joining here: www.Patreon.com/IntrinsicPaths.

Finally, my first book, which will be filled with stories and practices related to everything here titled, WALK: Slow Down, Wake Up & Connect at 1-3 Miles Per Hour will come out this summer in August of 2022 with North Atlantic Books.

Preorder through North Atlantic Books

Preorder through Amazon

About Andrew Lang
Andrew Lang is an educator in Tacoma, Washington, an alumnus of Richard Rohr’s Living School for Action and Contemplation, and author of the forthcoming book, Unmasking the Inner Critic: Lessons for Living an Unconstricted Life. For the past eight years, he has led workshops on contemplative spirituality and community development throughout the Pacific Northwest. You can read more about the author here.
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