Mindful Walking – Frank Liddy


Welcome to this week’s Inspire Mindfulness Corner.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single foot step” – Lao Tzu.

Lao Tzu is trying to express that great things start from humble beginnings.

My Zen teacher, Ryushin Paul Haller, would remind me that sometimes it’s not just one step at a time but one breath at a time. How refreshing it is to know that we can start all over again anytime anywhere. All we need to do is let go of how we believe this moment, yes this moment should be in the world according to me. Easier said than done I hear you say.
That’s why I believe that this week’s Inspire Mindfulness Corner, can get us out of our own corners, the ones where we feel stuck or trapped in at times

Taking the first step
I hope you like this little gem of a story, that hopefully illustrates what I mean. Imagine the following – a person is standing on top of a hundred foot pole on one foot. What do they do next? Students normally reply with logical answers, but alas what one has to do is step off the pole. Jump and the net will appear. There is an old Irish proverb that says “Fortune presents gifts not according to the book”.

How many times have we found ourselves caught up in our own story, with the belief that we can’t move forward, that we are stuck and then we take the courage to move and guess what, something completely different appears beyond our wildest dreams. Remember what I said a few weeks back “Reality can be kinder than our thinking ” We need to take that first step and we now know, that if we move a muscle we move a thought.

Mindful walking
This exercise takes10 mins. A good place to begin is within the home, in your hallway or bedroom, mark out a short distance of 10 to 20 feet.

Begin by standing upright, sensing your feet on the floor, the carpet or wood and notice the points of contact with the floor, notice your heels and the floor, the soles of your feet and the floor, your toes and the floor, now, unlock your knees and allow your shoulders to soften, head upright, chest opens. Now take a moment to notice your soundscape, notice sounds without judging or analysing. Now bring your attention to your breath, notice how you breathe, no right way, no wrong way, notice the quality of your breath.

Bring your attention to your feet, imagine that the soles of your feet are made of Velcro and that the floor is Velcro as you breathe in your right foot peels of the floor from the heel to the toes, breathing out your foot returns to the floor toes to heel. Now breath in and your left foot peels of the floor, heel to toes, breathing out the left foot returns, toes to heel.
Mindfully walk step by step and if you find your mind wandering, gently bring your attention back to contact with the floor.

Remember, when walking, just walk.

I hope you are able to practice this exercise daily and I look forward to hearing any questions from you regarding mindful practice.


Frank Liddy

Frank Liddy, Lead Mindfulness Practitioner for Inspire Professional Services | B.A, A.Dip.

About Frank Liddy

Frank has worked in the community care voluntary mental health sector for over twenty-five years and currently delivers Mindfulness Programmes for Inspire.

He is the founding Director of the Belfast Mindfulness Centre, co-founder of Compassion City Belfast and Northern Ireland’s representative for The Mindfulness Initiative.

Frank studied mindfulness at the University of Wales and is a qualified integrative humanistic Counsellor and holds certificate of registration for NI social care Council.

As well as teaching mindfulness compassion through the life-long learning programme at Queen’s University Belfast, he has also successfully delivered experiential and practice-based training programmes to mental health and allied professionals working in psychiatry, nursing, social work and the criminal justice system.


Change your mind logo

This series of #MindfulnessMonday is kindly supported by Inspire Wellbeing and the Change Your Mind programme. Change Your Mind It is a joint programme run by Inspire and the Public Health Agency. It is Northern Ireland’s regional campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health. They are funded by Comic Relief and work in partnership with a range of organisations and community networks across Northern Ireland.

They are a grassroots campaign shaped by the collaboration of communities, organisations and individuals who are championing the message against mental health stigma across society – a campaign for people, driven by people. Read more here.