Monday, February 22, 2010

With Each Step a Letting Go

I was just blessed with a 4 day trip to the Washington coast with a good friend. We took a couple days off and headed to the beach to relax and rejuvenate.

It has been an unbelievably beautiful week here in the Seattle area, and the weather at the beach was the same. We were treated to 4 days of almost completely cloud free weather!

This was the view from our room:

When the time came to head to the beach, I was a bit stressed out, and a little down. My low back had started to really hurt me during the week, and I worried that it would impair my ability to walk on the beach and enjoy my trip. On top of that, it had been a generally busy week, and the responsibilities and 'people issues' I'd had to deal with had me a bit frazzled.

I worried a bit that maybe I'd have trouble 'letting go' and relaxing - even with the gorgeous weather, a good friend and the entire Pacific Ocean to soothe me!

Arriving in the late afternoon, there was just enough time to take our first walk on the beach. The place we were staying sits high on a cliff. You walk an old wooden staircase down the side of the cliff, through a wooded ravine to get to the beach. As we descended down those stairs, I noticed that I was already starting to feel a bit different.

I had set a strong intention to 'be fully present' to my time at the beach. When my mind wandered to problems or my back pain, I focused on the present moment and took a deep breath.

We hit the beach and it was absolute perfection. Perfect sunshine. Very little wind (which is also rare for the Washington coast). We headed to the waters edge (the only place to walk on the beach, as far as I'm concerned) and started to walk. Step, by step, I found myself gently reigning in my mind, returning my focus to the step at hand and taking one deep breath after another. I started to feel calmer. With each and every step, I looked at the ocean, listened to the soothing sound of the surf, and thought about the enduring nature of this magnificent creation. The ocean was there long before I was born, certainly before any of my current 'problems' or 'challenges' existed, and guess what? It will be there long after my challenges and very life are no more. How much do our 'so called problems' really matter in the grand scheme of life? How many things do we spend our energy worrying about and wrestling with... that really just... don't matter!?

I swear, that with each step, I felt a little lighter. With each deep breath, and each 'refocusing' of my mind, I became a little more present and a little more content. The restlessness subsided. My problems started to fade in significance. All that mattered was making the most of the moment in which I found myself.

Being fully present to each moment of life is a powerful and compelling way to live life. We can 'harvest' the value out of our experiences to a much greater degree if we are in the present... and not reliving the past or fantasizing (or catastrophizing) about the future.

The beach certainly offered it's full support to my process, and I emerged from my little journey feeling 100% better! You don't need a trip to the ocean, however, to focus on your breath, the present moment, and the step that you are taking at this exact point in time.

Be here now. Let go of all that came before with each step you take and pay attention to where your feet are landing right now!