25 Apr Making Mindful Moments
Ears go up and the eager excitement explodes each day when I mention to my 3 dogs and 4 cats that we are about to ensue upon our “hike” through the woods. The wooded trail consists of about ½ mile long of up and down terrain on the back side of my property. This is their favorite activity and also one of my making a mindful moment events. We start by climbing up the hill, tails wagging, with many pit stops along the way as the necessary marking begins. It is essential that they let all the woodland creatures know who rules this territory. Our hike is a breath of fresh air during the colder indoor days and a much needed source of movement when doing idle tasks. It is also a time to unwind, regroup, and find a moment of peace and solitude. But so often, even our well intended activities, such as this, become another task to check off the list.
However, today as we crested the top of the hill and started down on the back side, I felt the warm spring sun on my face as it engulfed my entire being, inviting me to stop and embrace the moment. I climbed a large rock face with a nice flat mossy perch at the top to rest upon as it overlooked the trail and wooded area. Since the trees have not budded out yet it let a maximum amount of sunshine in for that particular forest spot. Warm in the sun’s embrace I closed my eyes, listening to my breath at first, and then, as I relaxed, with my faithful dog by my side (the other 2 are long gone chasing the elusive rabbit) I allowed myself to tune in to the surrounding sounds.
At first I heard the chainsaw running on the distant mountain, followed by a far-off ambulance siren blaring out on the main highway over a mile away. But as these external noises came to a rest, I listen to Mother Nature’s symphony. The frogs in the swamp down below peeped out a continuous chatter while two geese honked as they flew overhead. A carpet of fallen leaves still remains on the ground from last fall and which left a soft crunch throughout forest as the squirrels scurried about the ground. Hearing a squeak close by, I opened my eyes to catch a glimpse of a red squirrel climbing up the tree in front of me, leaping from tree to tree far from the forest floor. An assortment of song birds sang out readying themselves for the upcoming nesting season. And a solitary fly buzzed by as a gentle breeze caressed my face and rustled the dry leaves that surrounded me. I was truly at peace.
This spot will soon be covered by a canopy of green leaves as the deciduous trees of maple, cherry, hickory that surround the rock come to life once again in spring’s renewal. The sun will be replaced by shade and the lone fly will bring his woodland mosquitoes, making sitting still somewhat difficult and uncomfortable in that location. I am grateful to have taken the time to enjoy that short moment in the present. We all too often rush through life trying to get it all done, even the moments that were on our lists of relaxation. We worry about what happened yesterday and what will be tomorrow. Although we may need to plan for the future, we need to be in attendance today with everything we do. Live your life in the present, for that is the only time that is real. Take time to breath deep and quiet your mind, even if only for 5 minutes a day. You will reap the benefits for time well spent.