Archives for posts with tag: walking a mile in my own shoes

I will soon be measuring self-care in miles kilometers… or maybe pounds kilograms. I’m looking forward to my camping trip. Excited about the location. Excited about the downtime. Giving my gear a little side-eye. There is real effort involved in packing my gear to the site, and then packing it back out. I’m not even bitching – a lot of things require a handful of verbs and some real effort. Sweat.

The forecast is for some sunny summer weather. Not horrifically hot (or I’d cancel and stay home), and definitely summer. There is a small chance of rain showers about mid-way through my trip. My Traveling Partner teases me about the potential I may give up on it and come home early. I often do. About 40% of my camping plans face some sort of significant change between plan and execution. I don’t take that personally about myself – it’s not a lack of commitment to the adventure. It’s more a firm commitment to skillfully taking care of myself. I’m okay with that. 😀

I still haven’t found my Kindle. My Traveling Partner gently suggests, perhaps, maybe, there is some limited potential that I may have, inadvertently, tossed it out in some careless or absent-minded moment? I can’t eliminate that possibility. I’ll no doubt have to replace it at some point. In the meantime, it’s not a high priority, and I’ve got plenty of bound books. I pick a couple for the trip. My partner buys me a book he thinks I’d enjoy and I add that to my items to be packed.

Looks like an interesting selection. Where to begin? Feynman.

I am looking forward to this handful of hot days with a light heart. A few miles on the trail and a couple days in the trees with my camera sounds really good, and I am ready to go. 🙂 One more night of good sleep here at home, and coffee with this human being I hold so dear, and then… some time listening to myself think. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Sipping my coffee this morning, and giving thought to yesterday. A good day at work. A weird, fairly alarming commute home by light rail (lots of feral humans, acting out, it was a bit scary at times). I think about how productive I felt, in the new location. I think about how many colleagues were smiling, that I don’t recall seeing smile so much, before. The thought has me smiling, now. 🙂

…Sometimes a change of perspective makes a real difference. Walk a new path. Take a different approach. View things through a different lens. Ask new questions. Hell, just step from here, to over there, and take another look. Perspective can change how things look, so much. 🙂

I think about the weekend, and the fresh bit of trail walking I’ve been doing. Where to, next? I’m eager to tackle a certain “loop” I have in mind (it is not particularly loop shaped, it simply does not require me to double back to get home). It will test my renewed endurance, although it is approximately the same length as the longest walk I’ve recently taken, at 3 miles. Nonetheless, it has one daunting feature, due to the lay of the land; it is very hilly, with several steep bits that mock the hill in front of the house (well… one of the steep bits is the hill in front of the house). Am I up to it? Regardless which direction I start off in, I’m facing serious inclines, or declines, and throughout the walk, an assortment of both. lol I’m still excited to give it a try.

…No expectation of “easy”. I just have it in mind to take this lovely walk I’ve never taken before. 🙂 That’s enough.

I sip my coffee and think about walks, and paths, and journeys, and trails, and hikes… and realize I am ready, so ready, to begin again. 😀

Where does this path lead?

No rain today. It’s not a holiday. Today is simply a weekend day wedged between one holiday and another. I am not working, and it isn’t raining; I walk a few miles. It’s a good day to walk (from my own perspective most of them are). After considering many trails within easy reach on such a day, I decide in favor of the closest paved trails through forest and meadow (only recently passable on foot) and head out with my camera and my thoughts, and commit to walking farther on foot, versus traveling farther to walk fewer miles in the same time.

Some of it is about what is in the distance, on the horizon, possible or probable; there will be verbs involved.

Some of it is about what is in the distance, on the horizon, possible or probable; there will be verbs involved.

It’s the end of one year, the beginning of another, and consistent with my tendency towards organized hierarchical thinking (as a human primate – it’s a thing we favor) the ‘new year’, as arbitrary as it really is, seems a fine time to wrap things up that no longer have value, or have reached a natural end, to reach out to initiate new things, shore up works in progress that need a boost or re-commitment of will, or to take a deep breath and re-calibrate this whole experience in some way through reflection, consideration, or discussion. In short, it’s a time of year I often spend on self-reflection.

(I re-read that last paragraph and I am reminded of my traveling partner’s observation that there is room for brevity in life, in poetry, in text messaging – and surely in my own use of language as well? Fair enough, Dear One, you are quite correct. I’ll reflect on that, too; it’s a lovely moment to reach out for healthy changes, and to refresh my thinking on all manner of things – even language.)

Today I just walked. Footsteps over miles. Miles of mud. Miles of pavement. Miles under clouds. Miles alongside small local waterways. Miles of trees, squirrels, crows, ducks, geese, and the sound of nearby traffic and all of the busy-ness mankind has created to occupy time. Miles of musing about things I have seen, things I have heard, and things that I wonder. I wander. Miles. Miles of tiny mushrooms in a variety of shapes and sizes and habits of growth. Miles of opportunities to pause. Miles measured in moments, one after the other, each so very precious – each now only a memory. I reflect on the miles, and I reflect on the moments. I reflect on what is behind me, and how far I’ve yet to go.

Sometimes it is a matter of details, perspective, and a willingness to be aware, without judgment or interpretation.

Some of it is a matter of details, perspective, and a willingness to be aware, without judgment or interpretation.

Today is a good day for reflection.

I am enjoying having my preferred route to work [on foot] through the park back. I don’t think I understood how much it matters to my experience – my commute, generally, I mean. It is more than simply a means of arriving at work on time that is more pleasant than the harrowing commuter traffic on the roads at rush hour; in principle I have nothing against long commutes, and I have had quite a few. Time and again in life I have returned to the experience of being close enough to walk to work, and found it to be a more satisfying experience on a number of levels. It makes a difference where that walk takes me, though, and this is something I had not understood with sufficient clarity before this experience of having a walk I greatly enjoy taken from me for some time, and then returned to me. I have more information (about me) and deeper perspective (on how I enjoy my experience and what matters most to me).

Walking a favorite path.

Walking a favorite path.

I find that the walk itself is very productive cognitive time, whether I spend it meditating, problem solving, or day dreaming. It always feels ‘fast enough’, too, even on days when I am frequently distracted by things I see and want to take a picture along the way. In spite of feeling fast enough, it doesn’t feel rushed, or hurried; it’s actually pretty difficult to rush myself, or feel hurried, on foot. When I am walking from place to place, the world must wait for me. That’s a pace I can comfortably sustain – for a lifetime.

Beauty, perspective, and a   few moments to think.

Beauty, perspective, and a few moments to think.

I took my time today, and I have treated myself well. Gently. With great respect, appreciation, and tenderness – and why not? I do so much for me! Besides, I’m right here, every day, handy for helping out with the ongoing process of learning to treat others truly well, also. I practice on me – because I’m certainly worthy of my best care (without me, where would I be?). It’s been a lovely day, and after a chilly walk home on a crisp autumn evening, a hot shower was quite splendid – far beyond what a few minutes of soap and warm water are generally expected to be, honestly. The apartment is warming up; I smile reminded that my traveling partner was right about the thermostat and happy that I already ordered it. Dinner next, that seems sensible.

As I sit and write, music in the background, I pause to reflect for a moment on how much more natural so many small basic self-care things feel now. Almost easy. I chuckle silently; I know from experience that if I stop practicing some good practice or another, however worthy and helpful, the habit of it will quickly be extinguished (thanks, TBI!), and I might even forget it had been a useful practice – maybe, just maybe, being reminded somehow, some time later, that it had been something I used to do I could then begin again. lol I keep practicing practices – and incremental change over time continues. My emotional quality of life is considerably improved over two years ago, and even my physical health seems more reliably good, much of the time. It’s a chilly autumn evening, and life is more good than bad – and I am content more often than I am not. That’s a nice bit of improvement right there. 🙂

I smile, thinking of things and people, and experiencing a tender moment of… ‘global well-wishing’? Something like that. It’s a nice evening to treat myself well. If you were here with me, I would treat you well, too. Why not?

I enjoyed my beach trip yesterday, and arrived home quite late and very tired. I didn’t rush off to bed once I got home. It was a pleasant opportunity to relax and take my time taking care of my basic needs, in spite of the hour. There’s something about not rushing that feels very satisfying and…something. A word for a saturating self-care goodness that is emotionally nourishing, and joyful…is there a word for that?

When I rush through my life I can't really see what's going on around me.

When I rush through my life I can’t really see what’s going on around me.

I took my time all day – and that was part of the whole point of the day I had planned. I sent one last email to my traveling partner on my way, and use my “phone” as a camera for the rest of the day. (I’m not sure why anyone would call them ‘phones’ now, anyway – I rarely use mine for that, at all, and it spends most of its time as a camera.) I relaxed, walked the beach, walked the town and enjoyed the entire day on foot. I split my time between solitary reflection walking on the beach, and interacting with actual live humans. Real ones. Using words. I spent more time listening than actually talking. I made a point of making eye-contact, and asking fairly ordinary social small-talk questions – but slowing myself down enough to let people really just talk. I was definitely ready for the quiet bus ride home, but I finished the day feeling visible, valued, heard, appreciated…a lot of very emotionally nourishing experiences packed into one day. I guess next I work on figuring out how to be sufficiently open to these interactions moment-to-moment to enjoy them more, and more often.

Yesterday's beach trip was more about the horizon than the beach.

Yesterday’s beach trip was more about the horizon than the beach.

The weather on the coast was common enough for autumn; it was misty, cloudy, chilly and hazy. Somehow the photos look backlit from every direction. I don’t mind; if I get even one really good picture I am delighted.

More about a feeling, than a view.

More about a feeling, than a view.

I walked miles and miles up and down the beach. Any time I needed to rest there seemed to be a big driftwood log handy to sit on for a while. At one point I sat awhile meditating. Something got my attention out of the corner of my eye, off to the side. Ankle deep in the ocean was a woman with a friend and a camera…trying to get a yoga picture. I watched her awhile. She was attempting an asana I can’t yet do, and I am curious how people get those awesome yoga pictures. I watched, and it slowly became clear that this particular woman doesn’t actually do yoga; she’s just trying to get a cool yoga picture to turn out. It was more than a little weird, and I found myself thinking words like ‘sham’ and ‘fraud’.  Yoga pictures are pretty cool though… I look at them and think ‘wow, someday…’ It’s easy to understand wanting to be that. There are still verbs involved. It was a strange moment and I found myself uncomfortable with making a judgment about it one way or another, but feeling sad for the woman wanting to have that picture so badly she didn’t want to do the work to get there.

A fisherman, actually fishing.

A fisherman, actually fishing.

I had interesting conversations and a couple of great coffees, and saw art that inspires me as an artist. I watched clouds cross the sky. I slowed things down until I could hear myself think, and then took more time to listen. Listening is a very good practice, even if I am practicing listening to me.

A day spent well, listening to the wind, the waves, and my heart.

A day spent well, listening to the wind, the waves, and my heart.