Every weekday morning I get up early and walk my two youngest daughters to school. Since I work evenings, this is the only time I get to spend with them Monday through Thursday. My walk isn’t very long but the trip bad is quite enjoyable. I take a more scenic route back and often see birds or squirrels going about their daily lives. Today I was noticing a squirrel scavenging for food, or I assume that’s what he was doing. He seemed content to work on his task and hardly took notice as I passed by.
It got me thinking about animals in the wild and how unhappy they are when you take them out of their natural habitat. I used to ask my mom if I could bring home wild frogs or turtles. She always told me that they wouldn’t be happy and that we should leave them outside so they could be free and we could enjoy them. She was absolutely right… and that got me thinking, how can I set myself free? Where is my natural habitat?
This, to me, doesn’t mean going to live as a wild animal, but rather living my life in the happiest manner possible.
I went for a run today and as I ran I started to focus on the beauty of the world around me. There is a large pond next to a cemetery, fruit trees in front of a house I used to own and even the Spanish moss is beautiful in it’s own way. I had the sun in my eyes and I could see my breath as came back at me in the cool air. After a minute and a half, my running app gave me the signal to walk. I had hardly noticed that I had traveled so far just as the squirrel I had seen earlier hadn’t taken much notice of me as I walked past it.
I felt at that point as if I was in my natural habitat. Not necessarily being outside but I was living in the world and taking in everything in each step and each moment. It wasn’t until the end of my run that I started thinking about how tired my legs were or how much longer I had to run. I had forgotten about my habitat and started living in a place that didn’t exit until the end of that particular interval.
In life, when we dread the now and hope for a better tomorrow or next year we start to live a life of constant anxiety. When we look to the past and say, “life was better when…” we live a life where we’re depressed that now isn’t the same. Life changes, situations change for good or for bad but there is always some good in everything and some bad. Just as I chose to see the beauty in my early runs, is saw the negative later. Was there any difference physically going on in my body? No, I simply focused my attention.
As I sit down to write this post, I’m also enjoying the silence in the house. My wife is at work, the kids are in school, I had a nice cold shower and a delicious bowl of oatmeal with cranberries. The smell of coffee from the coffee make has filled the air and a ray of sunlight is beaming in from the windows. I’m a family man but as it stands now, I couldn’t be happier or more at ease.
Although I’m not perfect, and have my ups and downs, stopping to take the time to enjoy the pleasures of ever situation is going to be the main path to success as I work to overcome my anxiety.
Be well, be positive.