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How Stopping Helps Us Go Forward

Are there ways that we can build moments into the rhythm of our days that help us stop? Small moments to stop and ponder the beauty and majesty of being alive?

In stopping and noticing, perhaps we can find a kinder and more joyful way forward.

Every morning I run my dogs, they romp around the woods of Massachusetts while I trod along the sandy path. As we roam under the pine trees and next to the bogs, my mind vacillates between noticing the weather, ruminating on this problem and that problem, notices a bird and tries to figure out what it is, then back to my anxious monkey mind. Occasionally, something stops me in my tracks.

Deer prints from this morning's run, Zoë romping in the background.

Deer prints from this morning's run, Zoë romping in the background.

Like this picture I took this morning of deer prints frozen in the sand. Whenever I notice tracks, my mind stops whirring and I feel a sense of surprise and delight; Oh Look! Deer were here! I stoop down and check how frozen they are; did they come before the rain last night? Or are these two days old? I notice the depth, size and distance apart and try to imagine the size of the deer. Were here toes splayed out, indicating running? Or are her toes together, indicating a casual stroll out of the woods and down to the water for a cool sip before that crazy lady and her smelly dogs come barreling through the woods. 

I like to touch the ground where her feet have been, connect myself to something larger than my incessant whirring thoughts. Looking up from the prints I notice the sun, feel the cold air crackling against my cheek, feel my body nestled inside the wide open space. 

Stopping, we return to ourselves. Stopping, we notice. Stopping helps us move forward with grace.