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Thoughts From My Daily Walk: Stopping To Smell The… Air

Jan 15, 2017 | 0 comments

So one of my goals this year is to get outside for a walk every day. I know it seems kind of silly to have that as a major goal for the year, but there are a number of reasons behind it such as getting up from my work at the computer and out into nature, exercise, and so on. Most importantly for me though, is that it’s when I take a break, specifically when I go out walking without any distractions (like cell phones) that I come up with most of my best ideas.

I just got back from a two-hour walk and had a couple of great thoughts which I think some other people might be interested in.

Some Context

I’m currently in a small village outside of Leeds in the UK, just entering the final week of six weeks house and pet sitting here (I’m this close to becoming a crazy cat man…). The house I’m at backs onto a woodland with a number of lakes and rivers, some of them natural and some of them a result of the old coal mine that used to operate here.

The area has recently been designated a nature reserve, mainly for the vast amounts of birds that call the area home. Swans, cormorants, ducks, geese, hawks, owls, and dozens of others occupy the wetlands and woodlands that surround the lakes, and the area is incredibly peaceful and refreshing to wander through.

It’s been quite cold recently, some of the lakes have partially frozen over in the past few days, but today was a departure from the recent chill, with temperatures over ten degrees celsius and that distinctive smell of spring in the air (sorry to all you people back in Canada, I know it’s only January).

I almost didn’t notice the smell for the first while I was walking, but I started to get this nagging sensation in my head until I stopped and took a deep breath.

Being Present

It hit me like a freight train. The smell was infatuating, and it seemed like I was in one of those allergy medicine comercials where suddenly my vision had gone from blurry to clear.

Wow. What a fantastic day it is! Like seriously incredible!

I had been in a good mood already, but at this point I was elated. As I continued walking I thought more about this experience I’d just had. At first thinking about how with smell specifically, I don’t generally pay much attention to the smells in the air around me unless they’re overwhelming (and that’s often not a good thing…).

Focusing on my normal breath I realized it was quite shallow, and that even with this beautiful smelling landscape around me, it wasn’t until I made a point of breathing deeply that I really could soak it in, or even realize the aroma it was offering up.

As I  continued walking I started thinking about my other senses and realizing how the same principle applied to all of them.

We spend our whole lives looking at the world around us but how often do we see who, or what we’re looking at. Same with taste, touch, and hearing. It’s a shame really.

Gratitude Exercises

Something that I really worked hard at cultivating last year was a sense of gratitude and an appreciation for the small things that make life wonderful. For a while, at the end of every day, I would write down a list of three small things I was grateful for that day.

The practice petered out at one point, but the results were apparent, and for the most part the mindset stuck with me. I found that when I knew that I had a deal with myself that I would write down three things at the end of the day, I was on the lookout for things to be grateful for. The entire day.

And what do you know, it turns out that when you’re on the lookout for small things to be grateful for, you find that there are dozens of small moments every day that warrant gratitude.

The moment today reminded me of that principle which I’ve let fall by the wayside a little bit in recent months, and reminded me of the importance of being present, and actually experiencing the moments we live through.

I think experiencing life is an active endeavour, you actually have to focus on it, commit to it, and work at it. Every day.

I had thought I had got to a point with my gratitude practice that I had conditioned my mind and outlook to a point where I no longer needed to work at it. Well, it looks like today was a (wonderful) reminder that there’s still work to do. There’s always work to do.

But life really wouldn’t be the same without it.

Ok, so I’m really excited about this second idea

 

The other idea I had today has to do with giving back to you guys! I’ve had a lot of support over the past year as I built my business from friends, family, wonderful people on the internet who’ve reached out in regards to podcasting, photography, entrepreneurship, travel, and much more.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts now, specifically my list of favourite books from 2016, I believe that reading a ton of good books was one of the biggest factors that allowed me to learn what I needed to in order to get my business off the ground. This achievment now allows me to travel the world and work for myself, from my laptop.

Sooooo, to say thanks to everyone who’s been following along, either for a while, or is new here, I’m going to be giving away one book a week for the next month, and depending on the response, may keep it going indefinitely!

To enter, all you need to do is follow this link to the contest entry and follow the prompts.

(This is my first time using this contest platform so there may be a few kinks… Bear with me!)

If your name gets drawn as the winner you’ll have your choice at any of the books I listed in my list of favourite books.

Thanks so much for following along so far, and good luck in the contest!

 

Let me know what your thoughts are on the whole gratitude thing. Do you have any practices that you use to remain present and appreciate the world around you? Let me know in the comments.

Jeremy Enns

Jeremy Enns

Storyteller In Chief at Ascetic Productions
I'm Jeremy, a storyteller at heart, currently using sound waves, light beams and good old fashioned ink and paper to tell stories with heart and substance. I run a podcast consultation, management and editing company called Ascetic Productions and am currently traveling the world and doing my best to learn and grow from every misstep (of which there are many).
Jeremy Enns

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