Everyone has their own way to decompress. For some it’s a glass of wine post a hard day at work. For others, it’s lacing up their running shoes and going out for a jog. For me, a walk in the woods is just what the dog ordered. Just what the dog ordered? Yes, you read that right. For me, there is nothing more soothing than putting on a pair of hiking boots and going for a long walk with my dogs. There is just something decidedly relaxing about walking in the greenery of the Pacific Northwest with my fuzzy ones.
Last week was a hard one. I had to adult five whole days…in a row! Take it from me….adulting is hard work. You have to make decisions, sometimes unpopular ones, you have to color inside the lines, drive with both hands on the steering wheel, and pay bills. I’ve got a PhD in adulting – by the time you are in your mid-thirties you’ll be well on your way to an advanced degree in it. But it’s not all that bad – I can eat ice-cream for dinner if I want to! I was tired of all the adulting and so at the end of day five I had enough of being the big decision maker and buckled up my fuzz ball and took off for one of the big wooded in-city parks close by our neighborhood.
I talk to Mattie when we go out for a walk. Sound odd? It’s not really. I work through my frustrations, or hurts, or challenges and at the end of my rambling, I ask him what he thinks. It sounds something like this, “Well, today I was a bit more short tempered than I had set out to be..so and so didn’t hear what I was trying to explain..I was frustrated and so I got a bit snappy….that’s probably not what you would have done, is it Mattie?” More often than not, Mattie tilts his head and stares at me, and gives a little sneeze, and then stands up, shakes his little body, gives me a second sneeze, wags his tail and off we go, continuing our walking. I’ll carryon the conversation, “I knew it, you wouldn’t have done it! I’ll work to be better Mattie, I’ll try to convey more of you in my actions.” And, off we go on our walk.
Walking Talking Meditation
This is what I call my ‘walking talking meditation.’ Typically these three action-based words would not go together like this. But, like many other times where rules exist – I tend to break them. I get healed with our walking talking meditation times. When I go for a walk in the woods with one of my pups and ‘we’ talk through moments, growing my self-awareness, while walking together, taking in the green, mossy canvas, trees waving about in the wind, smells of the earth and ocean combining together – BAM, that’s my nirvana! My spiritual center, my church if you will. I worship at the alter of the great outdoors, and learn how to live a more kind life by talking with my dog.
Books We Recommend
- The Four Agreements
- TIME Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness
- Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness for Children and Parents
Dogs Make Great Psychotherapists
Without words or degrees, or even studying the profession, dogs seem to ace psychotherapy. Maybe it’s because we feel safe talking to them – judgement free exchanges allowing us to see ourselves a bit more clearly. I’ve gotta hand it to Mattie, if he charged me for his services…..boy, would I be broke. Happy and self aware, but broke. For me, when I have a tough day – a walk in the woods is just what the dog ordered! Does your dog help you work through things too, maybe challenges, or just the way you are approaching a problem? If so, share with me and my readers by leaving a comment below.
Until next time – take care and keep on lovin’ your dog!
With lub, MattieDog, a little dog making a big impact in this world!®