Mindfulness- a Portage Reminder

I worked for years, trying to rebuild after my shoulder injury that I thought for sure would make it impossible for me to ever get a Canoe over the top of my head, and off, again.

There I was trekking down a portage trail with a sixteen-and-a-half foot Kevlar on my shoulders when I found my mind wondering; All the things I needed to get done for work when I get back, new projects, new processes, an email I have to send, a meeting I need to set up, when was that women’s group meeting in BLA this month? When are Christian and Hannah coming in? What am I gonna make for dinner while they’re there to accommodate the total meat and potatoes, kid, as well as vegetarian?

All of the things, and then suddenly, a bird flew in front of me. I thought it was a grouse, and I stopped, and from underneath tried to see what it was.

In that pause, I realized something. I realized I was wasting the most beautiful moment that I’ve had in years. I had waited for YEARS to have a canoe on my shoulders, walking it down a gravel path, across rocks, around trees, and I was wasting it thinking about other things. So, I started to walk again. Listening to the slosh of water in my sandals, the crunch of fall leaves underneath my feet, the sound of the birds chirping in the trees, and the most magical sound of the breeze moving through the tops of the pine trees. As I truly watched and listened and felt and smelled that moment, I looked ahead as the other end of the portage appeared.

“I wonder if I can navigate those rocks with the canoe over my head?” Was the only thought I had. It occurred to me in that moment how often I waste the moment I am in, thinking about the past, or worrying about the future, and in that distraction, completely losing the blessed experience of where my feet and my body are. Use this as your own reminder. Way too often it is not just a grouse getting up unexpectedly. All too common are stories of losing a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or some other tragedy that jerks us back into the present moment, makes us stop amidst our distracted life and take a look around to re-decide how we will move forward from there.

This moment on that portage was a powerful reminder and I invite you to use it to be the same.

Listen to the sound of your feet wherever you are walking. Hear the breeze moving in between the trees, or the buildings or the sounds inside your home. It doesn’t matter. Every moment is a moment, and that’s what makes it blessed.

Forever the journey, Anne

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