I considered making this a rant, but I decided to come from a different place; from my soul.
It’s my dog. She wakes me up most every morning at 5 am to go out for her morning walk. Since the day she’s come home to us she has woken me up between 5 and 6 am. Even on weekends.
I know I could change it with persistence, but there’s a reason I would rather not. It’s because even though it looks rough from the outside and feels rough some days, overall, I like it. I love getting outside before the sun is up.
I used to get up in the mornings, pre-Iris, and sit on my porch. A cup of tea in hand, I watched the sun rise on the trees; leaves fluttering in the morning air, golden highlights, and shadows on each tree creating a beautiful backdrop for silent meditation and reading.
Once Iris came, I tried to keep everything in my routine, but quickly found that porch-time was giving way to dog walking time. It turns out though, for me, it’s been a move to practicing an authentic meditation I didn’t realized I could have.
In walking before dawn, I found out that trees have partners; trees on my walks that grow together from the base and split but stay side by side, living their lives in tandem. There is a tree in the shape of the number 4. I’ve seen a tree that grows up then stretches forward and outward from its base, leaving me wondering how in the world it is standing. Deep roots?
When we travel, Iris gets me up just the same as at home. She and I walk around, she smelling the place silly, and me noticing. Houses, the beach, the moon, how the stars look in this place compared to at home. I notice bushes and grass and leaves. Iris has been in my life for a year now, so I have seen all of the seasons come and go and how the landscape changes as those seasons pass.
By now, you might be picturing me walking the dog on a clear morning, where the stars and moon are visible. But, I have walked her in the rain, the sleet, the snow, and the wind. I have layered up in two coats and put a blanket over the coats.
I love that too. As an adult, I don’t find myself rushing out to be in the elements. But once I am out there, breathing in the air, and walking, I find myself liking it.
I can see how those before us, those that lived under the stars and the moon, would want to know all there is about our Universe and what those moon cycles mean and how the stars are connected. I love to see the changing moon – not just its shape, but where it is located in the sky changes.
And that is the point – I am no longer sitting on my porch observing, I am now more in a state of experiencing what I was observing. From the start, without any planning about it, I started paying attention to the elements in front of me. I listen to my footsteps. It is such an acute time for my senses, I feel very mindful – aware of nature, aware of my dog, aware of how our ancestors must have felt being outdoors so much more than I have been in my lifetime.
I encounter so many people who say they cannot meditate because they just can’t sit there and not think. But, meditation can be anything, as long as we are PRESENT for the moment. Walking, gardening, cleaning the house, jogging… the list goes on. Meditation is not only about sitting. It’s about being in the moment no matter the activity. It’s about allowing those thoughts to come, but deciding to envision that thought as a cloud, passing by. This lets us know we are not our thoughts.
Meditation is all about disconnecting from thought form and recognizing we are MUCH, MUCH more than that. We are divine for goodness sakes!
Seeing ourselves as more than thought allows for the space to know that the tapes that run, that one that says, “You are messy, stupid, and ugly,” or whatever are just not true, they are nothing more than a thought.
Meditation allows us to observe that thought from a different standpoint, outside of our minds.
Of course, I still subscribe to the sitting. I believe learning to sit and watch my thoughts from the inside out is a wonderful skill – one developed over time, not just in one sitting. I like saying to myself, “Huh, wonder where that came from?” Or, telling myself “This can wait; now it is time for spirit.” However, active meditation is a great place to start to see how a quiet, mindful experience can change a moment into a seed of inspiration for more. More peace. More quiet. More careful attention to for what we want in this life to be.
Today, I have gratitude for my dog, Iris, and the depth of experience her early-bird disposition has brought to my life. And… if you haven’t tried it recently, nothing feels better than going outside, a chill in the air and coming back to get back in the bed on a weekend and sleeping until waking up, again.