A walk on Hampstead Heath

photo-4This morning I went for a walk on Hampstead Heath. It was cold and grey and gloomy but I walk most mornings, trying to kick start some sort of motivation and can-do attitude. It rarely works, obviously, but I do it anyway.

As usual, some random dance track was blaring in my ears and I was squeezing my bum (my workout) while walking as fast as I could up the hill.

My head ran through what I had to do today and I realised there was quite a lot. I have three articles to finish and some paper work to do. Usually this would send me off in a tailspin of adrenaline, I’d walk faster and faster and berate myself for not waking up sooner and imagine all the ways the day could go wrong.

But strangely, today I did not feel overwhelmed by my to-do list and my usual dread didn’t quite kick in.

Instead there was peace and a feeling of strength. Very weird. Very not like me. So then I tried something radical: I took out my headphones and walked in silence.

I slowed down my pace and listened to the gentle thump of my feet on the ground and the swooshing sound of my jacket arms rubbing against my side. I became aware of the cold air brushing against my cheeks. It’s funny how all my senses were heightened just by turning off the music.

I thought I could hear seagulls – and I wondered if that’s right, could I be hearing seagulls in London? There was a barking dog too and then the distant roar of an airplane.

I stopped still. I took it all in.

I looked at the bare brown trees dotted around the park. They were elegant, quiet and strong. I’d like to be those trees, I thought. I bet nothing bothers them.

I could feel my heart beating.

Two women marched past me in their lycra. ‘He didn’t even send a text,’ said one, outraged. ‘That’s disgusting,’ said her friend. They marched on in indignation and low level fury.

I got to thinking about how silly we are, us humans, getting outraged and upset and offended. And how much time we lose getting sucked into all that stuff, into all our dramas.

Yesterday I was furious with a friend I was supposed to be meeting. She told me that she was having a really busy week so she could only see me for half an hour. The outrage! How rude! Who does she think she is?! I’ll show her etc etc… was what went on in my head. I sent a passive aggressive text saying, let’s not bother. Then felt petty about it. Ha ha ha…

A muddy labrador ran past me with a stick in his mouth, panting with delight and shaking with excitement. God, dogs are so happy, aren’t they? They don’t need anything but a field and a stick and they are bursting with joy. They don’t get offended or slighted or worried about their precious egos. They just know that right now their paws are slapping around in a muddy field and there’s a chewed up tennis ball flying through the air and that’s the best thing ever!!!

Why can’t we be like that?

Tolle says that if we want to learn how to live in the Power of Now, we should go to nature and look at the trees, at the flowers, at the sky. They don’t try to get pissed off or try be anything they’re not, they just ARE. They don’t worry about the past or the future, they just ARE. They go with the seasons, accept that there are times of growth and death, blossoming and bareness – and just ARE.

That’s my thought for the day:



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