Saturday, February 9, 2008

A year of conscious living: Savoring life and practicing patience

One thing that I love and hate about where I live is the moodiness of the weather. Today, for instance, is more like an early spring day than winter--the sun is high in a powder blue sky accented with sparse clouds and the air is a little brisk, but not too. In less than 48 hours, though, the skies will be gray, the wind will be howling and temps will be barely above zero, so says The Weather Channel. This morning, the weather looked so delicious and the forecast sounded so gloomy, that I had to get out. I grabbed my dog Jax and went for a walk around the neighborhood.

Over the summer and fall of last year, I had gotten into the habit of taking a nice, long, walk every day. Unfortunately, Jax was often left behind. You see, even after two rounds of obedience class, my neurotic, hyperactive Border Collie mix is not so obedient on the leash. He bounds out ahead of me, then falls behind, sniffing this bush or that patch of grass, obsessing over a random plant in a neighbor's yard. I want to check my daily walk off my "to do" list, Jax wants to stop and smell the roses--literally. It drives me crazy.

Half way through my walk it occurred to me, after coaxing Jax away from yet another evergreen (he loves those), that I was rushing through something that was meant to be enjoyable and relaxing. What was my hurry? I admit to approaching many things in my life this way. I wake up in the morning with a mental check list. Bi-weekly meeting with boss...check. Weekly meeting with team...check. Post blog entry over lunch...check. Pay cell phone bill...check. Cook dinner...check. Meditate for five minutes...check. Call my sister...check. Finish a chapter in the book I'm reading...check. I dispatch with the pleasurable things on my list as quickly and efficiently as the not-so-pleasurable things, and then I move on. That's really not the point of things is it?

So, at the corner of Stony Creek and Chesterfield, I decided to stop rushing. I let the dog take the lead and I followed, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood and savoring the temperate weather. I exhaled. And interestingly enough, when I relaxed, so did Jax. He stopped pulling so much. I strolled. He strolled. It was a great walk.






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