Lately I’ve been managing to get out and walk around the neighborhood where I live. It’s taken me literally 20 years to be able to do this type of walking which is about simple relaxation, just being outside, and basically strolling along noticing and experiencing things. Being physically compromised for over a year with gross hypothyroid-related obesity, tachycardia, hypertension and high blood pressure has finally brought me down to the whole point of being in a body. I have now actually discovered and experienced the Joy of Being, which I finally RECOGNIZE as the “IT” I’ve been chasing through all kinds of other stuff that jest plain did not work.
I have discovered many useful things: One is, that if I give my obsessive and grasping mind some sort of counting or measurement task, it then behaves itself while I am walking by quieting down a bit. Today I put on the stopwatch, and counted how many cars were leaving for work, as it is the late commute window and my mind is concerned with inhaling pollutants from gas and diesel. The count was 18, walked for 25 minutes.
I greeted cats in windows and observed flowers, trees, plants, statuary, arrangements of small gardens, surprising details of things people use to decorate their homes and living spaces. No matter how many times I walk the exact route, there are always surprises, something special or unique that shows itself. Today it was a slinky young tiger cat crossing in front of me, uttering occasional deep voiced cat murmurs as he walked, and I could see he was not fixed. One of my sort of rules is never to hurry, and rarely to interfere with things, so I did not pick up my pace to see where he went ahead of me. I was then rewarded with seeing him eating kibble on the porch rail of a home with it’s resident, beautiful cat chilling with him.
Yesterday it was a beautiful, jaunty little teenage gray and red fox coming down a grassy hill trail behind the clubhouse. I make a point of greeting all cats, dogs and wildlife, and markedly keeping my distance to show them respect. I actively observe, without effort, keep the obsessive mind gear on low or OFF.
More and more I appreciate everything I see, from wabi sabi, not so meticulous overgrowth, decay and under maintained places to the surprising beauty of what is clearly human intervention of the landscape. I hear birds singing, see people working on their cars, or homes, and even catch scents of plants with what has been a nearly nonexistent sense of smell. Now I practice smiling, lifting up my mouth to break up my aging and wrinkling, blotched skin face for short snorts of time. There is a method to my joker faced,smiling madness: according to countless sources smiling changes the energy in the body instantly, connects nadis and marma points, and affects the overall vibe of self positively and distinctly.
I am starting to get to know the statuary: this madonna, that buddha, that standing, prayerful angel. Gnomes and dwarves, dogs holding small baskets in their mouths. Bunnies. Pelicans. A frog in coveralls. At one house, a broken, bright blue giant slug. One home in my neighborhood has glowing, colorful, solar powered butterflies that light up at night and a pair of wind wheels which rotate in opposite directions. There is a mysterious, metallic looking woman sculpture with her arms up above her head tucked behind a modest fence. She has starfishes on her body and looks vaguely HP Wellish, like she belongs in the deep sea. I love the small scale of these wondrous vistas of beauty, and the fact they are so accessible to me.
While I can tune down the obsessive mind, even get it to take a long coffee break, I don’t squash my curiosity, neither do I allow it to take over the wheel. So many of my negative beliefs about current, here and now reality are starting to erode. I lot of ” I can’t manage, the world is too fast and fucked up for me” gets to see that ALL THESE OTHER somewhat ordinary people are not only coping, they are managing to express themselves through their relationship to nature, beauty and their home. Of course the main question is “Who are these people and HOW do they do what they do?
So much of a chronic and deep “I Can’t” feeling is starting to collide with the reality of places overflowing with flowers in pots. There is too much evidence right beyond my doorstep that somebody is making it, somebody is not only living but thriving and growing food, flowers, and expressing beauty while they do it.