Lessons to Live By: Morning Walk Epiphanies

During my walk this morning, I had the experience of writing an article in my mind. This is my attempt to transcribe what I was thinking about along the way. I have two dogs, Buckley and Coco. Buckley is a Boston Terrier, and Coco is a Cockapoo. They are authenticity fulfilled. And remind me everyday of simple life lessons that I've found to be invaluable.

Here's what we learned today:

1. Anticipate that good things are happening. This morning, the likelihood of a walk was about 60%. I was deciding between walking or yoga, and hadn't committed yet. Plus, Saturday and Sunday mornings tend to be less structured for me, so it could have gone either way. What tipped the scale was that Buckley knew it was about the time when a walk typically happens, so he acted as if we were getting ready to go. He was running around the house, wining, and anticipating someone stepping up to accept his request. He was persistent. I had a few things to wrap up, so 15 minutes later, a "probably" turned into a "yes." If Buckley hadn't acted as if we were going to go, we probably wouldn't have. His expectation created his reality. I walked away realizing that if you want good things to choose you, you have to choose them too.

2. Short leashes can be good. It's Saturday, so naturally more people are out, kids are playing, and dogs are being walked. Buckley has a mixed relationship with other dogs; he loves them, but can come on too strong or excitedly and completely turn them off. That excitement gets him into a reactionary emotional state, which can become stressful for everyone involved. We encountered 3 different dogs today. So, I observed how he was different with each one. With the first, he was curious. With the second, he was protective. With the third, he hardly engaged. What was the difference? He has an adjustable leash, so the longer his leash was, the more reactive he became. His leash was the longest when we met the second dog, and the shortest when we met the third. By the third time, I had shortened his leash, created a stronger boundary, and he became more focused, rather than reactionary. When you exhibit focus and discipline, you choose where your attention goes. Therefore, you're more likely to get the results that you want. When you are all over the place, you're more likely to get distracted and be reactive, which is the easiest way to deter yourself from where you really want to be.

3. You determine your path and your pace. Each morning, we take the same route. The pace changes; sometimes we run more than we walk, and others we walk more than we run. The distance is the same, but the time and intensity varies. We can't control the incline or decline, but we can decide how we handle both. Coco prefers to stay at a consistent speed walk. Buckley likes to run back and forth. They have two very different life experiences, which is great, it just demonstrates that we're all on the same road with the same choices, and our personal preferences create our experience. 

4. Fall in love with your life everyday. In my family, we talk about how if everyone could find the one thing they love as much as Buckley loves a walk, and Coco loves a tennis ball, the world would be a radically different place. What's your one thing? What makes you giddy and excited no matter how many times you've done it before? The ocean is that for me. No matter how many times I go, no matter how often I see it, no matter the amount of time I spend there, it never gets old. Finding that magic in one thing every day is all it takes to feel in love with your life. Not only does that person, act or thing elevate you emotionally, but it shifts your mindset and emotional state to where it continues to affect the way you see other things too. Think about what you want to cascade throughout your day. Commit to creating that in your life. When you need a reset, re-engage. But take a mental inventory of what those things are for you, and incorporate them into your day as often as possible.

What I love about this exercise, and morning rituals in general, is that they're so simple, easy to do, and really only take 30-minutes at most. These 30 minutes impact the 16 hours that follow, if not longer. Do you know what yours is? If not, take some time to discover one of your greatest returns-on-investment this weekend. Find something that takes 30 minutes or less, which creates a positive impact throughout the rest of your day. At the end of the exercise, take a moment to focus on how wonderful it is to have something so lovely in your life, and take your day on from there. Notice how your day feels different, and be open to experiences that may surprise you. If you feel inclined to share them, I'd love to hear them too! Feel free to send me a message, leave a comment, or share your experience on the Rituals + Retreats FB page here.

Enjoy your weekend!