bringing all of our senses to this moment?
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.
The environmentalist in me does not want to share this news. But…I bought a car this week, and it has brought me unexpected bliss. For years, I have prided myself on the fact that I pretty much get around everywhere by walking, bicycling, public transit, and the occasional use of Lyft. I live in one of the most walkable corridors of one of the most walkable cities in the country. The weather is temperate here, and I work from home most days. So getting outdoors on foot and interacting with the world outside my doorstep is not only recommended, it’s part of how I maintain (some semblance of) sanity each day.
This holiday season, I treated myself to a set of camera lenses for my iPhone. I love photography, though I’m only an amateur photographer at best. But enjoy the act of capturing a moment in time or a beautiful scene with a thoughtfully composed snapshot. And I love marveling at the ways that others capture the beauty of the world through their photo offerings. While some will bemoan the negative effects of social media on today’s society, I confess that I am, more often than not, inspired by the thoughts and images that float through my Instagram feed.