I came across this bench the other day. Not only was it a good photo op but also a nice place to pause and take a little break. Nestled up against a sturdy, grounding tree, with various little flowers popping up all around it, showing off their array of colors, it gave me a moment to breathe and ponder the beauty of the rest of the garden around me. The shade was cool and I felt my body relax. I felt my mind just be. For a second, there were no worries, no thoughts, no racing here or there, no rushing to get things done. Just me, the bench, the tree, the flowers.
I was hiking yesterday in Walnut Creek. The hills seemed long and steep and I was feeling really tired. They really weren't that steep but I have chronic pain and it has been spiking the last few days. When I have a pain spike, it can be difficult to get out of bed...or stay in bed...everything hurts. My entire body feels like it has been used as someone's punching bag and I get really, really tired. During those times, it's important for me to get out and move anyway...even if just a little. There have been times when I go for a walk just down the block from my house with tears streaming down my cheeks because the pain is so bad. Thankfully, I'm at the beginning of this particular pain spike and it hasn't gotten that bad yet and I could still make it up that hill. Although half way up, I wondered if this was such a good idea. I think the cows I had just passed along the trail wondered too. Although they seemed more interested in eating grass than in watching me, a couple of them had expressions that seemed to wonder why merely walking up a hill seemed like such great work. You might not think that cows have expressions, but they do (see below). I started counting my tiny steps and estimated that if I got to the top of the hill in 100 steps, I would be doing well. I focused on each step and refused to even glance at the looming top so I wouldn't become any more overwhelmed (pain gets worse with stress, so does feeling tired). I reached the top at step 82. And...there was a bench! Sweet mercy! If only there had been a lemonade stand. But there was this fantastic view. And it was all worth it. I walked back down the trail, past the cows, with a smile on my face knowing I have the courage to face my pain and move anyway and occasionally get rewarded with a view that takes my breath away.
See what I mean?