Each day starts with a walk with my dogs. Many view this activity as a chore, but I see it more as an honor and a privilege to connect with my companions and teachers. Yes, I do miss out on another 30-45 minutes of sleep, but I replace that sleep time with cardiovascular activity and just go to bed earlier to make up the difference.
It is hard to describe what happens when I walk my dogs. It was a bit different with Duke and Amore than it is with Duke and Ruby. Just the same, they are so happy to be out there walking that even if that is all that I could possibly explain about it that would be enough for me.
A syncing happens after the first block of sniffs and markings that far surpasses any amount of presence I have ever experienced. It is as if both dogs are moving in sync as a pack, along with their pack leader. Sometimes it feels like we are all in the zone together with the only goal being that we are moving forward as a unit.
While we are all hyper-aware of our environment during this sync experience, we are also able to communicate almost telepathically. I move this way or that way, and my pack moves seamlessly with me at my left side. We are as aware of each other as we are the world around us, but we are so present in our moments and in our movement that nothing else matters. We are walking side by side by side all the way (walker allowing us to move faster).
This morning I saw the opposite of what I experience on a dog walk. Two medium to large sized white dogs were pulling her as if she were on an Iditarod sled—they were the length of her extended arms out on their six foot lead, and it was no surprise that they behaved quite badly with each other as we passed on the other side of the street. It looked like chaos, sounded like chaos, and felt like chaos, despite the order that my pack had and maintained as we moved in the opposite direction.
I thought about the difference between my walk and hers this morning. My day started with a presence of mind, with a sense of total connection with my pack, and hers had to have been starting with chaos from the obvious disconnect.
I couldn’t help but wonder if she viewed the walk as a chore and whether or not that played a part in the experience for her. I also couldn’t help but think about the extreme differences in terms of how our respective days might play out.
How I am and how the dog walk goes in my morning very much reflects my state of mind. If I am grounded and appreciating the experience, then my mind is clear and I am in the walk. If not, then I am frustrated that one dog is going one way and the other another and there is no sync. It is usually indicative of my thoughts doing just what they are doing, and my lack of presence.
It is just an interesting thing to note and another reason to appreciate just how grounding and centering my dogs are in my world. I have the opportunity to re-center and return to the present every morning before I leave my house because of walking my dogs. I may or may not choose to, but I certainly have the opportunity to self-correct (or have a chaotic walk and chaotic day).
How do you start your day? Is it chaotic from alarm to shower to car?