Walking is a mode of making the world as well as being in it.
Animism is not limited to wilderness settings. Life is in us and all around us. Even a city has personality.
This animism exercise for city dwellers is based on the writings of the philosopher Guy Debord. His focus was on how consumerism damaged relationships and society. Fifty years later we are all witness to how consumerism damages our planet and our soulful interaction with it. Mindless consumption transforms people into hungry ghosts, endlessly seeking yet never finding.
How can we find our way back to a life of authentic experience?
Maybe with baby steps.
Here is a version of one of Debord’s techniques: The Dérive.
Choose a starting point where you can meet a few friends. Alternatively, from any arbitrary point in space, simply drift along by yourself. Walk.
Dismiss even the idea of destination. Open your heart to the details around you. Open your mind to the big picture. Choose turns randomly or let street lights direct your path. Use architectural details or colours as beacons. Follow the breadcrumbs of natural life appearing in the form of weeds or birds. if something catches your eye go there to find out why. Walk as a photographer might. The visually impaired might be inspired by sounds. Above all, feel free to simply make it all up as you go along.
Walk until you are done. Your journey may last for 15 minutes. It may take the whole day.
Give the experience some time to catch up to your imagination. Much like a soup that tastes better the next day, stories can get better with time. When you are ready: open a journal, create some art or share your experience with someone you love.
The return ticket to a life of soul is intentional action and mindful response. Practice stepping out of your everyday life. Learn to pay attention to what the world is saying. Maybe then, at those moments when we find ourselves at the crossroads we will have the wisdom to know which path leads to a mythic journey worth remembering and which leads to nothing.
If you try this exercise and wish to share the experience please contact us here. We’d love to know what happened.
mitsubaschi spends a lot of time with bees and flowers.