I don’t observe the occasional utter lack of stress in a critical way, and I try to simply savor those moments, delight in them, and enjoy them while they last. My walk yesterday morning was one such experience; beautiful from end to end, with several really choice delightful moments to look back on now as memorable.

That time I photographed a hummingbird... A lovely memory. :-)

That time I photographed a hummingbird… A lovely moment. 🙂

The entire day was pretty enjoyable. I have no recollection of any difficult or challenging moments. I don’t say so to brag, or to imply that I’ve found some magic cure to being human; I make a point of saying so, because I need the awareness of it, myself. Taking time to appreciate the beautiful day, the lovely walk, the choice photographs, the conversations with friends, birdsong, merriment, a really good nap – all of it – tosses a positive pebble into the vast still waters of my implicit memory, and over time, enough of that sort of thing holds the power to reduce my “negativity bias“, generally. (It’s a great practice!)

These days, I also make a point not to dig around in my recollections to find troubling or difficult moments I no longer recall; the reward for letting them go is an improvement in positive outlook on life. Totally worth it. I can trust that they may surface if/when needed, and that they do not need reinforcement; negative experiences are sufficiently powerful without additional reinforcement through repetition or rumination. I find refraining from reinforcing negative experiences is also a useful practice. (It takes much less effort to tear my thoughts away from lingering over what sucks, or what hurts, or what went wrong than it once was; the power of incremental change over time.)

The day ended slowly, a pearl moon rising in a cotton-candy sky.

The day ended slowly, a pearl moon rising in a cotton-candy sky.

Between the start and end of the day, yesterday, life was lived, a beautiful journey was taken, and this morning I look back and recall it a wholly delightful day. Today… I get to begin again. Those beginnings? Not all of them need to be a departure from something difficult, and not all of them are. 🙂 Some new beginnings are simply next in a sequence of many. I entertain the notion that over time, many more could be delightful days with beautiful journeys than were previously, accumulating beautiful memories over time, like vast treasure, held within my heart for safe keeping… shared generously, because in sharing, love becomes multiplied. 🙂

There are days when I find myself pushing a few verbs off my “to do list” in favor of doing… less, sometimes because I’m just not up to doing more, other times… well… I’m pretty human. It feels good to slow things down and take it easy… or at least, easier. Over the summer, I found myself sometimes hurrying through my walk, sometimes skipping it altogether, not really seeing the scenery, not really hearing the birdsong, sort of stuck in my own thoughts, but committed to a process. This past week, something clicked. I began again. My walk yesterday morning built on that beginning, and this morning I find that I am similarly eager, encouraged, hopeful (hope-filled, more specifically), and enthusiastic about life and the day, and particularly my morning walk.

A tangerine sunrise infuses the morning sky with sherbet shades of orange. I smile, thinking ahead to the moment I will put on my boots and reach for the front door.

Where will the day's journey take me?

Where will today’s journey take me?

My morning walk does not require a plan – or a map – and I’m generally quite close to home. There are still so many opportunities, and choices, and verbs involved…

Will it be a narrow side trail on life's journey that entices me today?

Will it be a narrow side trail on life’s journey that entices me today?

I think about how brief lovely moments seem, and how endless my sorrows sometimes feel. I think about perspective.

Life's helpful signage sometimes isn't very helpful at all...

Life’s helpful signage sometimes isn’t very helpful at all…

We are each having our own experience. I smile thinking about the sign in the marsh, helpfully provided to caution visitors about… something; the sign points out into the wetlands, and the text is not visible to any human being walking by. It stands in a section of the park cut off from the main trail. Will the ducks and geese find it useful? I think about the metaphor, and I think about the aisles and aisles of self-help books helpfully offered up by one human being or another, who found their own way on a complicated journey. It’s nice to have a map on a journey, an itinerary perhaps, and some good expectations that compare favorably to likely real-world outcomes… we don’t, though, not in life. What works for me, may not work for you – we may approach things differently, and reading about a great practice isn’t anything like practicing it, over time. There are verbs involved. Results do vary. Most of the self-help books, and a lot of suggested practices, are like that sign in the marsh; well-intended, but facing a less-than-helpful direction. We are each on our own journey, finding our own way, doing our own best. Fortunately – and this is one of the easy bits, I find, myself – we become what we practice. We have choices. We can begin again. 🙂

I once walked the paved trail that is no longer here to walk...

I once walked the paved trail that is no longer here to walk…

We each make our own journey in life. The trail I took before may no longer remain to guide another; I may not be able to walk those steps again, myself. I am my own cartographer, because the path traveled by another may no longer remain to guide me. My choices are not your choices. My steps don’t fit neatly into the steps of someone ahead of me, and are not left behind with anyone else clearly in mind. Still, it’s a worthy journey, and although I am having my own experience, it’s easier to recognize how clearly we are also all in this together, than it once was. That’s a nice change. I used to feel (pretty chronically) so alone… that’s more rare these days, even in the stillness of solitude, and even wading through the worst of the chaos and damage that still remains.

Figuring out the obstacles is part of the point.

Figuring out the obstacles is part of the point.

Choices. Perspective. Awareness. Where will today take me?

What will I choose?

What will I choose?

Today is a good day to enjoy the journey. 🙂