Walking with Nellie – Awareness and Silence

It was early, 5:30 A.M., dark, unseasonably and delightfully warm, and my little flashlight revealed the blacktop of the lake road that Nellie and I often walk. The air was still; limbs and leaves hung motionless as if draped decoratively over the road with orders not to move. Not a sound escaped from gulls, screech owls, crows or mourning doves.

It was as if I was being invited to mirror, as best I could, the profound stillness of the early morning.

Nellie followed her nose as usual, occasionally barking at any unseen woodland creature who might dare to violate the sacred peace of these early hours.

Then began the thoughts, mind chatter, monkey brain, and the peace disintegrated. My awareness then shifted to my walking with Nellie, watching and enjoying her ability to sink into the scent of the moment. My brain quieted, and it felt like a respite, a vacation.

Nothing changes without awareness, which is why I consider mindful awareness a most crucial living skill. And it is something that is eminently learnable. Read more…

If I’m unaware of the noise and busyness that fills my mind much of the time, I’m equally unaware of the choice I have to let the thoughts float by and to bring my focus to the next breath.

My breathing is always taking place in the NOW, the present moment, and it becomes an anchor, a tether to the fertile void, as Fritz Perls called it, the silence in which we can hear the more subtle nudging and whispering of our Self, our true Home.

“I’m taking Nellie for a walk,” is how I usually announce our forays, but in those early hours, Nellie sort of walks me back to an awareness of the present moment.

As the sun expands and stretches over the lake along with quotidian demands, I find that a brief pause from time to time to be aware, to take one conscious breath (watching it come and go), and then to enjoy the momentary peace is akin to a very inexpensive, yet restful, vacation.

Enjoy often.