Walking into May one step at a time

Hey everyone, it's been awhile. Kali here. I had all the best intentions of writing to you in April, and life took over. So here we are, already 4 days into May. As many of you know, on Fridays I'm with my kids. Sometimes if I can I will take an early morning Kundalini class to give myself energy to make it through the day, but most of the time it's me wearing the mom hat. Every Friday is a different animal, but today I caught myself feeling extra reflective while taking a morning stroll and thought I would share more here.

While walking with my dog, Yuki and pushing Poppy in the stroller, I noticed the shadow of a tree on the pavement. I stopped and stared quite a time before I took a picture. It was like it was the first time I ever noticed a tree's shadow. I'm sure I've seen others take photos of such shadows, and obviously, I've walked by countless silhouettes on any given day of sunshine, but today I was in awe and had to stop in my tracks to take it in.

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My heightened awareness also spilled over to noticing the way I was approaching my walk today versus a recent "run" I took. Today I was really taking it slow and enjoying it for what it was, a stroll, a time to let my dog explore and my daughter take in the fresh air, sounds and sights.  Last week, it was a different story. 

I attempted to jog--my first "run" after a 9 year running hiatus. I took the same route as today, but on my run I immediately felt pain rushing in. Tightness surrounding my heart, shoulders tense, body creaking and wiggling off beat, the mind remembering a time before, when the body moved without the brain having to take so many notes. Back when things just worked. I didn't have to think about my cracking feet and nearly instant side pain--wondering, is that my appendix bursting or just tissue dying from lack of oxygen?

At the same time, I remembered the familiar feeling and thought pattern around times I would pass people on my run. Making sure I looked in good form (not huffing and puffing too loudly) and making sure others didn't notice when I wanted to stop to take a break. Letting the car pass by just enough and then stopping to catch my breath. During this run I had all these same thoughts, except this time I had moved for less than a minute before I wanted to stop, and of course there were two women planted on the corner that I needed to pass around. As I got by them, I glanced around thinking, how far do I have to run until I'm out of their sight? There was a part of me that still didn't want to show my tired, aching self, that part of me that wanted to give up right there. And so like times before, I ran until I saw a sign. A literal sign. It was right around the bend, a place out of direct view of the women.

Why did/do I feel the need to push? Why did/do I still try to hide my true pacing? Why do I still have trouble embracing the slow person I am? Anybody who spends a decent amount of time with me would never guess how slow I can be and how slow I like to be. I certainly couldn't hide this fact about me the summer I worked on a vegetable farm. Ask the head farmer about my pacing. He learned my love of plants and nature "experience" translated to daydreaming and frolicking with the fairies versus moving swiftly and efficiently. That was a hard summer for me to face myself. It also was a liberating summer. And I digress...

Back in the day, I used to run 3-5 miles daily. I wasn't a runner persay, but it was something that always felt good to me. I can even remember thinking to myself as I was running a half marathon that I could have kept going on and on forever and ever. Part of the reason why I felt that was was because I was running within my means. I wasn't borrowing energy to be there, I wasn't competing with anyone. I was moving in flow with myself. I was in my body. I wasn't pushing really. Yes, I certainly judged myself for not trying to go harder and wondered if I was doing it wrong--not trying to beat a time or clock. But why change anything if I was enjoying myself? So I didn't, and I kept running my way.

And so today, as I walked I noticed my pacing right now is more of a slow and distracted walk. One leashed to a toddler's attention span, stopping and going, moving back a few steps and then starting again. And when I embraced it for what it was, I had fun. I remembered the former runner in me, moving at my own speed.

When we move at our own pace, we can see better. I can see things like shadows of the trees on the pavement, and though I'm not sure why that matters so much, I know I find comfort here, being this way, just me.