If you’re lucky to get to walk with an old dog every day, you might already know about the unexpected gifts that come from slowing waaaay down. For taking care of your companion, you are rewarded with countless gifts of wonder and appreciation - if you’re paying attention, that is.
Elle and I walk trails in our neighborhood, natural places that change with the seasons and habitat for all kinds of critters, flora and terrain. We stroll, rather than walk, and this slowness opens a world usually taken for granted and maybe never even noticed: layers of sounds - natural and manmade; patterns in rocks, roots, bark, dirt; sensations under your feet, on your skin, through your nose, to your touch.
If you're lucky, your time out here, walking with your friend, starts to seep into your pores. It becomes precious. Cared for. You look forward to them, even though the rest of the world is rushing by you, demanding your allegiance to its pace.
These walks can open the eyes of your heart to the inherent commonality and beauty within all things, sentient and insentient; to the cycles of life – creation, sustenance, decay. To the what the Japanese call “mono no aware” – the appreciation of impermanence and the transience of things.
My walks with Elle are often the best part of my days now. I get to walk with her, knowing that we have a limited time left together. While she takes in the smells and wonders of her world, I enter a time warp of deep presence that cracks me wide open to love.
If you’re lucky - like me, you might know what I'm talking about. If not, I hope someday you are. (Hint: Yoga makes you prone to "luck"!)