I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come three days into my little experiment. But I knew that my promise to write would hold me to putting fingers to keyboard even though I really have nothing to say. And so, dear friends, I present you with the first of what I imagine will be many posts that contain little more than my meandering thoughts. My goal in the next few hundred words will be a point of some kind. I’ll even petition the universe for one. Universe – you on it? Thanks.
I just went for a really long walk. Longer than usual. I’ve been going for them more often, too, now that I think of it. Back when I worked in an office that was a convenient and steep two miles away, I would commute by walking, wrapping exercise and commute into the same 75-minute package of good-little-doobieness. Even when I stopped working every day, I would walk to meet with clients, hike with Lissa around Owning Pink headquarters, and hit the trails with my pooch at a nearby state park.
Then came the lull. It began last fall, I guess, with the days getting shorter, the weather getting crappy, homework piling up, the inevitable holiday inertia, more bad weather, taking on more freelance projects than advisable in the new year, the lead up to the new site launch … before I knew it, half a year had gone by and I was getting outside maybe once a week. It was another practice I’d let fall by the wayside.
Of late, though, there have been breaks in the clouds and lighter days, both meteorologically and psychologically. I’ve become reacquainted with my emotions who, after they exclaimed, “Oooh, lookie who’s back! Finally! Jeez!” with a sigh and roll of their eyes, got down to work letting me know in no uncertain terms that being busy had gotten in the way of being me. That I’d kept myself so wrapped up in tasks and obligations and competing priorities that it had been months since I’d actually connected to myself, to another, or to the true meaning of anything.
I finally listened, and now, though I’m still straddling the chasm between days that are frantic and ones that are scarily wide open, some friendly faces have reappeared, including my old buddy, the evening walk. And lately, it's not even a matter of dragging myself off the couch and out the door for a quick spin around the neighborhood that lasts no longer than my mercifully distracting NPR podcast, I actually look forward to stepping out, climbing hills, sweating through my t-shirt, and even turning off the iPod every now and again to listen to the crows and the wind and the silence. To savor the honey-tinged glow of late day penetrating the branches of the redwood trees. The satisfying feeling of yanking the seeds off the top of the grass stalks and sprinkling them behind me without stopping.
And today, I was out for almost an hour. I actually got lost a little. And I was happy to. Normally I stick to a route that I know (or know I can figure out) but this evening I found myself purposely going down roads that were unfamiliar, just to see where they would lead. Sounds silly (and sounds surprising to me to say it), but I hardly ever do that – stray from the quickest, most assured route. I don't tend to mess with the prescribed A to B. Without reading too much into what this means about me – about where I’ve been and where I’m going; how I was and how I'll be – I am appreciative of the unfamiliar bends I rounded tonight. The detours I took, and the time it occupied. The sense of not needing to be back for anything, and the feeling of having energy enough to walk for another hour if I wanted to.
It was, I daresay, a walk for its own sake. A practice that has very quietly crept back into my life without me having to force it. Kind of like writing. I love that I could come to the computer with nary a clue what in the blazes would come out, but trusting that something would. And it did. And had I not written about this walk, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the subtle shift that occurred today.
Stuff doesn’t happen when we force it, huh? Especially not time, space, balance, and presence. It’s like sitting down on my meditation cushion and yelling at myself, “stop thinking, damnit!” Which I do pretty frequently. You can imagine how well that works.
So this is what I take away (thanks Universe!). Rather than kicking my own arse, it appears that the thing to do is simply go outside or sit at my computer. Be open. Let something bigger steer me in whatever direction feels inviting and easy. Maybe the way is unpaved or even a little treacherous. Maybe I don’t have a clue where I’ll end up. But damn, that can feel really good.
Nothing has to be that hard.
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