Walking, Running and Standing Still

Last week I was fortunate to be amongst some wonderful souls playing and improvising. It was good food for the body and the spirit! One of the exercises was the simple task of walking, running and standing still – surely the best metaphor for what it means to be human and to be in community and to be with yourself! I have been reflecting on this all week and taking time to run, walk and stand still and to notice when it happens naturally – like at the traffic lights or a pedestrian crossing or to get out of the rain or to catch the bus. There is a lot of walking, running and standing still in everyday life. When I am walking alongside people in the street or standing next to them while waiting to cross the road I am noticing our common quest to get to where we want to go.

In politics this week, we’ve seen some running, walking and standing still as well. When I was a candidate for election I asked people not to say I was “standing” for parliament, but rather I was “running” for parliament, because it never felt like standing! I love the fact that “to run” is an irregular verb and means that both legs have to leave the ground. So it isn’t really even related to standing, as to stand means to take an upright position or to come to stop (as well as a whole host of other meanings). And just to be fair; to walk is all about travelling, advancing at a moderate pace. These are all good advices about how to go about the day – walking, running and standing still.

I am impressed that running and walking can be done backwards or forwards (or towards or away) while standing has such a solid and sensible feel to it. In reflecting on the qualities of standing I have come to view that standing is both an act of vulnerability and courage. Ever the activist, prophet, mystic, you Hildegard have mastery over running, walking and standing still. You say: “Resist strongly. Become a tree. Just as the soul is in the body, the sap is in a tree, the soul passes through the body just like a sap through a tree (Fox,M Book of Divine Works, p275). In the stubbornness of standing still, in the flight of running and in the steady steps of walking there is a lot to offer and learn from these simple movements.

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