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The Empathy Walk: A Calming Meditation-in-Motion Exploring Our Humanity

#breath #habitchange #healingjourney #hope #innerpeace Dec 15, 2023

To me, empathy is walking in someone else’s moccasins, open to all that is for them.  Empathy is seeing love shining through the clouds on a rainy day.  It’s looking beyond the clouds, knowing the sun is always present.   

Empathy is holding open the space for transformation to occur, even in the worst of times.  Empathy is good for us as it causes our bodies to secrete oxytocin, the sweet and healing hormone of bonding and love.  Getting to empathy in our everyday lives, in the most common of moments, offers a path of wellness and wholeness.  Especially in times of upset and difficulty, like our planet is going through now, empathy is how we can find the path of peace that includes all of us.

The Empathy Walk is a walking meditation I developed for deeper understanding of who we are as spiritual beings inhabiting a human body.  It’s a way to use our creative visualization for solutions.  You can do the Empathy Walk around your living space or walk outside.  It starts by getting into the rhythm of relaxation in motion, in a calm, alert state of mind. 


Start carefully and thoughtfully by taking a moment to stand still, feeling into the ground beneath your feet, feeling the support of gravity.  Pause in a moment of gratitude for all that is.  As you get into motion, pay close attention to your breathing.  At first, just breathe normally for you, noticing your breathing pattern.


Then, focus on the sensation of the air going in and out of your nostrils.   Breathe in through your nostrils and out through your mouth.  Breathe out through pursed lips.  After a few times, see if you can breathe in to a count of four and out through pursed lips to a count of four.  This will help calm your nervous system and connect you to the moment you’re in.  Once that’s going well, try slowing down and extending the outbreath to a count of 6.  The way it works best for you is okay. 


Create the start of your walk to be very pleasurable and relaxing, and releasing you of anything you have on your thinking mind.  You can be intentional about directing your mind to do this for you. 

One way to do this is by imagining your concerns, when they come up, as little icon pictures on your computer’s desktop screen.  Park them on the screen for later, knowing they will be there when you return.  Say to yourself “I’m going to think about that at 2 o’clock,’” for example.  Or you can imagine them going “poof!” as they disappear off the screen of your mind.  Decide these thoughts won’t be needed right now.

Eliminating this distraction can help you connect to your senses and the sensations of your physical body as your #1 priority in this moment. 


As you get into a relaxed rhythm as you walk along, start to put your mental attention on the shape of your face.  Mentally focus on your face as you’re walking.  How would you describe your facial shape?  Is it wide, or more narrow?  Long, round or diamond-shaped?  Is your head rounded or pointed?  Are the curves of your face soft or angular, or both?  Just notice how it is, unconditionally, without judgment.

Now start to imagine that you’re morphing your face into somebody of the same sex, but of a different race, a different age, or somebody who looks much different than you do.


Have someone in mind that you admire in your community, or somebody that you’ve seen on television, on social media, or in the movies.  Be sure to choose someone who looks very different from the way you look. You’ll be walking in their face, in their skin, as if they are your own.

As you activate this idea while walking, slowly morph your jawbones into their jawbones.  For example, if you have a thin face with delicate jawbones, morph it into a face with wide jawbones.  If you have a smallish nose, morph it into a bigger nose of the face that you’re going to inhabit.  Same thing with your eyes, your hair, and the shape of your lips.  Completely morph into their skin color, taking your time to experience the transition of your physical appearance.

Walk along experiencing yourself walking along, as your same self, with the same vision, the same heart, the same brain, the same strengths, the same blood, but now you’re living in a different face of a different race.  Who are you now?  How does the world look to you?  Do you think others would treat you the same, or would it be different from what you’re used to?

There is no “right” answer, just your experience of it, and the thoughts that come to you.

As you keep walking along and reflecting, gradually morph yourself back into your own face.


Morphing yourself is a valuable exercise to do, because it helps us empathize with different races, nationalities, ages, shapes and sizes and that helps us understand people.  Ultimately, it can help us understand more about ourselves.  What do you think is the true essence of what makes us human?  What qualities transcend labels and stereotypes??

Perhaps what we look like on the outside doesn’t change what’s in our hearts and soul. In the end, we are one.  We are all in this world together, and we all need each other.  Each one of us matters. 

In our differences lie beauty, in our sameness lies strength.



For an overview of how to break free of overeating, emotional eating, dieting, and food addiction or simply transition to healthier habits, download my free guide, "REthink Weight Loss"


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