bringing all of our senses to this moment?
I realize, whenever I look up to the mountains, to the trees and the sunshine, when I attend to the silent and not-so-silent natural world outside the boundaries of my self-contained body, new perspectives come to my mind. The swirl and sideways bends of the life that I inhabit almost seem to subside like calm winds after a storm. I am reminded that there is something beyond that which I perceive, a greater spiritual force at play in the world. And I am at the mercy of it.
I’ve come to realize that movement is an essential element to my happiness. While I have strong emotions that tie me to a sense of place and home, not a day goes by where I am not somehow moving — throwing myself out into the world to run, bike, walk, hike, and lately (thanks to the proliferation of electric scooters all over town) scooting! I recently got myself my own set of automotive wheels that, I confess, has brought me great joy as it now allows me to hit the road to just about anywhere there is a road.
I was attending a 4-day Science of Happiness event in Scott’s Valley, California this past weekend when Jack Kornfield, a renowned meditation teacher and Buddhism scholar, started us off us with a powerful meditation on themes of happiness and suffering and human connection. It was the first morning of our gathering, and amid the many nuggets of wisdom Jack shared with these themes, there was this poem by Mark Nepo that took hold of me.
Love the outdoors? I do. Oh, how I do! And my hope is that more people would come to love the outdoors too. I love to go for long runs along the water’s edge or lovely mountainside trail, losing myself in my thoughts. I love journeying through long bicycling rides, alone or with friends, along less-traveled roads that twist and turn through shaded groves and open trailways. I love catching the smell of eucalyptus trees while hiking. I love the magic of kayaking in a quiet estuary or bay and discovering new pockets of life hidden in rocks and coves. Even a simple walk in the hills around my neighborhood, feeling the fresh breeze of air and marveling at the colors of every flower patch I encounter, can be life-giving.