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Mindfulness of the path and enjoying the seasons

622 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  jlxian
Was trail running this past weekend and was not mindful of the path and stubbed my toe a few times. My eyes and mind were focused on the trees. I started to get into tree climbing as a substitute to rock climbing since the gasoline prices have made it very costly for me to go to my favorite climbing spots. With a kid in college I have to be very aware of my budget and can't just run here and there as I did when gasoline prices where not a concern. My tree climbing ventures seek to replicate rock climbing somewhat. Traditional tree climbers climb trees via spikes and climbing belts and the spikes can damage the tree sometimes. The new breed of tree climbers use ropes, harness and ascenders to climb up and then repel down. While this new method is fun, I prefer to use my four limbs and the branches of the tree as my climbing platform. All trees are not conducive to this method of limb climbing especially in my area where the tree are very congested. Due to such tree overgrowth and congestion, few side limbs grow at lower levels and the branches are mainly high up. So, while trail running I used my time to scout for these "rare" trees to climb.

This experience of stubbing my toe reminded me of a Buddhist saying "when one eye is kept on the destination it only leaves one eye left for the journey." I did not learn my lesson immediately after this experience though. The next day I was trail running again and kept my eyes on the trees as I ran and stubbed the same foot a couple more times on semi exposed rocks and tree roots. Some of us are faster learner than others. The it sunk in I needed to mend my ways and had to stop combining activities and pick and chose trail running or tree scouting as the two did not mix well for me. Practicing mindfulness of the path can sometimes save you a lot of pain. climbing is an activity that demands mindfulness and precision. It sort of forces you to be mindful or you will suffer grave consequences. Am planning a walk in the woods after I write this to scout for trees at a more relaxed walk and stop pace and try to balance the walk with my scouting efforts. It is misty outside and raining off and on so will put on some rain gear. I do not discriminate between sunny or rainy days as good or bad. I just dress appropriately and try to remember to be mindful of my circumstance - or the other option will be to keep "stubbing" some part of me. If you never go for walks in the rain try it. New smells, sights and sounds await you while walking in the rain.

While out on my runs this weekend I also noticed the leaf change and cooler temps that are coming my way. There is always something to look forward to when you live in a four season area. When it is hot and humid you look forward to cool weather. When your sick of snow and cold it starts warming up with spring and the crocus and tulips bloom. While looking forward is not a good place to spend too much time, it is nice to do in a small, benign area such as enjoying the upcoming changes in nature. I especially like fall with the glorious tree colors and crisp weather. Also like the change in foods with each season. Soon will be making use of the variety of squashes as well as the persimmons, quinces, cranberries and chestnuts. Hot soups, chowders and stews will start to look good when the crisp weather arrives

As an offshoot to my Simple Living work, I now use the practice of "voluntary solitude" to give me a more peaceful life. The same way I pick and choose which complexities of living I allow in my life, I now do the same with noise and commotion. I first learned of this concept when reading a book by the granddaddy of backpacking Colin Fletcher. He described the benefits of pure solitude by walking alone. It occurred to me I was addicted to noise and commotion. I felt like my mind was going to explode some days. Music and noise kept repeating in my brain all night and my sleep was fitful. I had the TV blasting all day with the stock channel or the news or whatever. It didn't matter if I watched it or not, I just liked the noise. I had the radio or CD going whenever I was driving. Even on the trail when hiking or biking, I had on earphones and at the pool a radio blaring. My mind was full of noise and I could never seem to get any escape with noise even in my sleep.

Once I started with voluntary solitude and shut off the noise, I went though a period of noise withdrawal for a few days, but gradually could see things were getting better. Sometimes our peace is disturbed by other means than noise. I've seen persons going out to be alone in nature and they bring their computer or paperwork with them. Maybe they have removed some of the fuel for their stressed life but cannot let go of it all and must still feed their addiction even while in nature. Be aware of peace disrupters in your life, irrespective of whether they make sounds or not. I now am very choosy when it comes to noise pollution and other disruptions entering me that can be cured by using solitude, deep quiet and renunciation. When we are quiet within we are in an easier position to find peace. I've known some people that have a completely quiet day once per week seeking quiet for their mouth and speak to no one in addition to seeking quiet for their ears. Other persons I have talked with just make an effort to lower the volume of the noise they intake as well as lowering the volume of the noise they output...lowering their voice. No matter which road you choose, now is a wonderful time to seek the solitude of nature and practice voluntary solitude in whatever degree you choose, as the crowds of summer have gone as well as the distraction of annoying bugs. Soon the leaves will be set a blaze with their rainbow of colors.

Take Care,
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Very interesting post, V. Great food for thought. Thanks!
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