This afternoon, I took a long walk with my dog Emmett to destress from the week. We hiked through the redwoods of Joaquin Miller Park which is just up the road from my house. Actually, I let Emmett walk me. (Brian does this sometimes when he’s curious to see where Emmett will go.) I thought that it would be a good exercise in slowing down.
Dogs live so in the moment. What a great lesson for me as I’m usually in the past or future. My dog loves to follow his nose. He experiences his surroundings by smelling every nook and cranny. Under leaves, in-between branches, through blades of grass.
At first I was frustrated at how he would stop at what seemed like every tree stump to poke his nose around. Then, I noticed that as I slowed down with him… I could hear bugs buzzing about. The cool, damp air brushed against my skin. Different shades of greenery and textures popped out of the trees. I was experiencing the beautiful forest around me. I relaxed into it.
Blog ideas about my walk insights bubbled up (always planning ahead!). I just noticed and let it pass. Instead, I focused on how curious Emmett was. How he seemed to instinctively enjoy going wherever the scent took him.
When I was ready to turn around, I’d get impatient when Emmett was just sniffing around for what looked like no apparent reason. Again, I just noticed and stopped walking or slowed down behind him.
On our way back, I bumped into someone I had just met last night at a gathering to explore the concept of accountability and support groups for projects. If I’d been intent on having my walk be my workout for the day (with Emmett merely tagging along), I might not have recognized this new person. I would’ve probably just zoomed right by.
I have Emmett to thank for a wonderfully refreshing walk in the woods and, more importantly, for reminding me to follow my nose and to relish in the simple pleasures of each present moment. It’s the journey, not the destination.
[tags]dogs, hiking, Joaquin Miller Park[/tags]