It was a lazy Sunday – I had done very little bar morning yoga and a shower and as the afternoon wore on I became very unsettled, firm in the belief that by not being productive I was somehow wasting my one precious day off.
Now a Buddhist monk may well have sat on his meditation cushion and delved deep inside to better understand what was going on but I am no Buddhist monk, no spiritually enlightened being; I am a regular human being who often gets overwhelmed and spun off-center by my strong emotions. At these times I could no more sit still and meditate than I could swallow a glass of nails.
So I went for a walk.
With my two canine buddies I set off up the nearby hill, following a quiet country road that led us past a farm belonging to childhood memories and a couple of curious horses snuggled-up in rugs and blankets. At this point, we left the road entirely and turned onto a steep up-hill dirt track before leaving all paths for the wilderness of rolling fields with goats, cows and the occasional flash of white of scarpering rabbits.
As we climbed higher, my breath brisk and my heart beating powerfully, the expanse of the nearby town and countryside stretched out below us. The wide river meandered in and out of the scene and everything was in miniature, coloured by Autumn.
On we went, ducking under electrical wires, clambering over haphazard fences, strolling through fields dotted with shrubs and passing the tiny pine forest that draped downhill to our left, my two furry friends usually trotting contentedly ahead of me in single file.
After nearly thirty minutes or so we approached a field and beyond it a few creatures stirred at our arrival – to my utter delight I realized it was a herd of twelve horses, all rather curious about us. The horse-crazy ten-year-old in me was over the moon, the dogs a little less so but once they were safely on the other side of the fence and away from skittish hooves, I went to mingle with my latest animal friends of the equine variety.
There is something quite soothing and comforting for me and always has been about the presence of a horse and had I had even the slightest disregard for sustaining a serious bodily injury, I would have happily chanced my luck grabbing a free bare-back ride. Luckily for all of us I stayed on the ground.
Eventually, due to the setting sun, I decided to head home.
With a last pat to the bossiest of the herd, a handsome piebald, I turned and together with the dogs – most relieved to be away from those equine monsters – we set off back down the hills. Feeling fresh and ridiculously full of energy after the big climb, I burst into a jog several times until at one point I literally lay on the grass and rolled downhill like a little kid. It made me very dizzy.
As I made my way home, the sky to the west behind me constantly shifted and transformed from reds to oranges to vivid pinks as our big star sank ever lower and the clouds absorbed her fading light. Every time I turned around to look the sky was a new shade of fire!
By the time I got home it was nearly dark, my clothes were filthy, I stank of mud and horses and I was as content and satisfied as if I’d just had an afternoon of pampering spa treatment.
That is the effect of exercize in the great outdoors (or naturcize as I like to call it). The horses and the sunset were an extra-special treat but to simply be outside on a bright day, in the quiet of nature and getting a cardio-workout, was magic for my internal world.
In our developed modern world of so much sitting hunched up indoors and staring at electronic technology it’s vital to reconnect to the soft subtle sounds and sights of nature and also to give our bodies a chance to really move and stretch and work.
I left for that walk feeling unhappy, frustrated and out of sorts with everything. I returned utterly contented, relaxed and at ease. And it cost me nothing more than a couple hours of my time.
I’m lucky enough to have access to such a great abundance of nature and to have been able to take off alone for those few hours. I understand that for many people it’s not always so easy to arrange.
But the phenomenal impact it had on me makes me think that all of us should make it a priority. Doing something like this for ourselves literally transforms our inner world from where we have to deal with everything and if it takes away from a few other important jobs, I believe the energy and contentment it generates will enable you to catch up on everything with less stress than before.
This at least, is my experience and I can vouch for it being worth its weight in gold! I literally went from being in a sucky cranky mood to being light and happy and totally relaxed.
And if I can do it, anyone can. Nature and exercize – the keys to our happiness that are easily lost in our modern world – so don’t let them go!
From one happy bunny to another! Love,