Have you ever been faced with an annoying situation that later turned out to be a gift? I’m referring to those little things in life that crop up, have to be dealt with, and just feel like a nuisance you must endure and get through.
This morning, as I walked along all bundled up in my warmest jacket, scarf, ear muffs, and gloves, I felt invigorated. It is interesting that just a few months ago this same activity felt like one big pain in the butt!
Recently, having moved to a new home, my routine shifted dramatically in one particular arena.
My dog Ozzy grew up in our old home with a huge yard that had invisible fencing surrounding the parameters. What that meant for him was he could go out at any time, do his business and run free. What it means for me now, in this new place—when he needs to go out, someone has to take him.
We moved this past Labor Day weekend. Although this new task felt like a pain, in the nicer weather, I really didn’t mind too much. It was nice to walk around getting to know the new neighborhood and the neighbors.
Like all other new things, eventually it became routine, and we have adjusted. Taking turns with my hubby, Ozzy does get his morning and after dinner walks. And several shorter strolls scattered throughout the day.
However, here in NJ, the last several weeks have been cold. Really, really cold! And bundling up to walk Ozzy several times a day was feeling like anything but fun. Certainly not a gift!
But little by little, day after day, my attitude has shifted. Not intentionally—it just kind of crept up on me. Lately, I am finding I actually enjoy our morning walks. They have presented a few unexpected gifts.
I have often thought about forcing myself to get up earlier. I imagined it would be nice to have some extra time to leisurely plan my day, daydream, whatever. But I never had strong enough motivation to push the alarm back from the already pretty early hour it’s been set at for years.
But now, I can no longer open the door to let Ozzy out in the mornings. That means I have to get up earlier than in the past. I must leave a good 15-20 minutes for this task, or I’ll be running late. When I run late in the mornings, well, let’s just say it stresses me out and I don’t do well!
When I am walking Ozzy, rather than focus on what a pain it is or how cold it is or how much I want him to hurry this up, I use the time to reflect. I think about the day to come and set intentions for how I would like it to be. Although I’ve done my planning the night before, I often remember essential tasks and plan where I can fit them in. Sometimes, like today, I even begin to outline a blog post in my mind!
Once back home, I find myself in a calm and relaxed mood no matter how busy the day ahead will be.
When I sit down at my desk, I am more focused than ever on the first task of the day. And despite the early hour, I’ve already clocked in a pretty impressive amount of steps on my Fitbit.
During the day, when I find myself losing track of time to the work I am concentrating on, Ozzy reminds me it is time for a break. Those short walks in fresh air are precisely what is needed to restore my energy and focus.
Interestingly, despite being a reasonably good sleeper, I have way fewer nights where I awaken and have difficulty falling back to sleep because my mind goes to that worry road. Whether it is the extra exercise, or the time working through worries while walking the dog, I am experiencing deep sleep and feeling great when awakening in the morning.
So what is the message I want to share with you?
Well, on the surface, and rather obvious, is the idea that you might like to consider taking a morning walk, despite the weather, to get your day off to a great start.
Think about taking a few breaks scattered throughout your day and walking outside to refresh your mind and your body.
Perhaps assign a time to do walking worry meditations—look for solutions to problems while you are in motion.
To deepen sleep, contemplate the idea of an after-dinner stroll to unwind from the day.
However, there is one more, not so obvious message I would like to share. The next time you find yourself resenting a task you need to do, shift your perspective. Rather than focusing on all the negative aspects, look for the underlying gift. You just might find a golden nugget you never knew you were missing. When have you found the gift underlying the annoyance?
Please share your comments and thoughts below since we all learn from each other