|My two most loyal companions.|
My dog and I have always enjoyed long walks together in the afternoon or early evening, depending on the time of year. Sometimes we drive out to the trails and play in the woods, others we simply hike through the neighborhood to cross paths with all the other regulars. Until recently, we would go two or maybe three times a week, but for the past month, we've been going every day. A few brisk miles, at least.
I do my best thinking on walks. My eyes settle into a soft forward gaze and my mind follows the syncopation of the footfalls, hers and mine, overlain by the rhythm of the breath. It feels good to be on the move, and that's something that we can share. My dog is a worthy companion. She will trot along at my side in good humor for as long as I ask it of her.
God help other dogs who pass us by, but that's another story.
I have, on more than one occasion, responded to crisis by taking the dog for a walk. Relationship ending? Call from the doctor? Death in the family? Out the door I go, with nothing in my pockets and a leash in my hand. There is something about the walk that is innately satisfying, it brings me to a balanced place from which to reflect and plan. In this way, walking with my dog -- finding balance through the ritual -- is a sort of counter-practice to the yoga.
In my practice on the mat, I watch the breath and feel the rest. If my mind wanders from the breath, which of course it does, I bring it back. Singular focus, broad awareness.
When I walk, the breath and the motion fuel my thoughts. The pace my body chooses comes from so, so deeply within that to allow my thoughts to follow and play on the rhythm is to embody my place in nature.
I walk and solutions present themselves. When I feel immobilized with indecision, I walk.
All the extra walking of late is no coincidence. I have allowed anxiety to bubble beneath the surface since the beginning of the year, frozen in an inability to make a choice as I allowed important opportunities to grow ever more stale. Finally, the breaking point came this week. The wheels are in motion. I am finally moving on. And not moving on, as the case may be. Was considering a significant cross-country move, but have decided against it. I feel relieved and more in love with Austin than ever. Ready to commit to my new students and to my continuing education in this beautiful city. Here we go.
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