Sunday, November 02, 2008

Me Time

Despite the old cliche, I love walking here in L.A. It is something that I find very rewarding and need to be mindful to make time for more often. We got our first rainy day of the season this weekend. I absolutely love rain, and took several opportunities to enjoy the weather. At one point, I found myself in the midst of several things at once,trying to jam pack my weekend with productivity and socializing, which is nothing unusual. I realized I had limited time to go for a good walk. Often, I take the kids on bikes and find myself slowly making our way around the block, arriving home a bit frustrated at our lack of umphh. This time, I decided to take some MeTime, a rare and under utilized treat.

I headed out in the drizzle for the lake. Initially, I felt stiff, doubtful that walking in cool, damp weather was such a great idea. Having to ford gutter rivers of rainwash impeded my pace, causing my enthusiasm to wane a bit. However, this Pisces is forever drawn to water, and I just felt a need to get to the lake. As I crossed into the park I felt much better, eagerly anticipating my destination. Although there were plenty of people there, there weren't nearly the crowds we usually find. For once, I headed to a bench and consciously took a seat to absorb the zen of the water.

As I sat looking at the pewter expanse, I became aware of my senses taking turns influencing my experience. I started to notice finer details about the scene before me. The grass was exceptionally green in contrast to the grey sky, and neutral plumed birds. The water had a gentle ripple, with mostly ducks floating about. As I looked around, the coots (my favorite bird there) seemed to be a single unit of feeding black, but the longer I watched, the more individual birds began to stand out. At first they seemed one blob of bobbing feeding heads, but really they were all at a different pace, some challening others, and some just hanging out on the perimeter. As I watched, I noticed I was hearing more than I was seeing. Those coots don't eat silently, but with a soft persistant pittering as their agile white beaks plucked blades of grass and insects from the ground. It was almost like the earlier whisper of rain. After a few minutes of concerted relaxation at the water, I headed back home at a brisk pace. I noticed a great difference in how I felt. Initially, I had felt stiff and slow,annoyed by my wet feet, burdened by the stress of numerous trivial responsibilities.

Once I headed back home, I could feel that my body posture was straighter, more open. My gait was swift with my hips and shoulders swinging freely with every step. My mind had shed the earlier stress and I felt like I was greeting each new step with a happy, positive thought. Often, I try to spend as much time with the kids to compensate for my time at work all week. I do an amazing job piling on the guilt for wanting a few minutes to myself, for leaving it all to Fillip for my own selfish wants. But, you know what? I truly feel that the refreshed wife and mom who returned to our house from the lake was so much more valuable than the stressed out lady that had left. Maybe I should feel guilty for not finding that inner peace more often. What a difference a walk makes.

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