My husband and I are big on walking our dog. Our spoiled little puggle, Chandi, gets about 4 to 5 miles between three separate walks each day. We have several routes throughout the neighborhood and surrounding communities of varying lengths that we frequent throughout the week. The route we use the most is a 1-mile loop through the neighborhood next to ours.
This neighborhood, we’ve discovered over our last year in our new place, consists of townhomes reserved solely for residents that are 65-years or older with no kids. On the outskirts of this neighborhood bordering a cornfield is a small ¼-mile trail that is part of the route we normally take.
A couple of months after we moved in and started using this trail as part of our walk we realized that there was a sign stating that the trail was solely for residents of this community. The sign had been blocked by the leaves of a large tree at the foot of the trail and only when the fall months hit did we realize we had been trespassing. But at that point we had been walking the trail and through the neighborhood at least once a day and gotten familiar with the residents there. As they seemed not to care that we were using it, we continued walking through.
I am not a rule breaker, so when we first discovered the sign I was a bit paranoid that someone would yell at me for using the trail and would quicken my pace if walking it by myself. But as the months wore on this feeling dissipated.
Last week my husband and I were almost done with the 1-mile loop, having already passed through the trail and walking the sidewalks of the neighborhood when a van pulled up to the curb right beside us. Something about the way the car came to a quick halt drew our attention.
An older gentlemen, stepped out of the van, slammed the door, and bellowed at us, “I have something to tell you guys,” as he pointed his finger at us. Immediately I thought he was going to yell at us for using the trail and later found out that was the first thing my husband thought of as well.
He took a few steps and was right in front us. “Here it comes,” I thought as I waited to hear what he had to say.
He was a tall man. I’m 5’9”, so the fact that I had to look up to see his face, lets me know that even in his later years he was much taller than me. When he started to speak the lines of his face drew together in a look of heartfelt emotion as he declared, “I recently lost my wife of 60 years and when I see couples like you walking side by side I just want to tell them to grab hold of each other’s hand because you never know when the opportunity may be gone.” He then choked out, “You’re lucky to have each other.”
Before I could give him a hug or offer any kind of consolation he moved on into the house at a relatively quick pace. My husband and I continued to walk down the street and almost immediately tears were rolling down my cheeks.
We had been on each other’s last nerve all day. My husband is a teacher and has the summers off which is a blessing and at the same time difficult to handle, as we have no down time from each other. Also, over the last couple of months we had been planning a big trip overseas, and where I am used to packing and travel from my performance days, my husband is not. Bickering over silly stuff had become the norm.
My husband smiled at me and grabbed my hand.
It’s funny how a moment can affect you so deeply. My husband and I are still talking about it a week later. And though for him it was a lesson on perception, for me I have reflected on it in a different manner. I am sure the older gentleman would give anything to have more time with his wife. But I realize that it’s not about getting moments back. It’s about appreciating the moment at hand. How many moments are we wasting not being truly engaged with those around us? In a society married to their cell phones, Facebook, iPads, and computers how often do we choose the distraction over authentic moments with each other?
But maybe this is why yoga has become more and more popular over the past couple of decades. We know we are starting to lose connection – not only with others, but with ourselves as well. As we once again learn to breathe and become truly present within our practice, we learn to become truly present and engaged outside of the hot room with the people and situations that mean a great deal to us in our daily lives.
You are learning a lot more than how to go through the series and do the postures when you enter the Bikram studio. You are learning to be here, now. To make this moment even better and value a deeper connection with others. To look into someone’s eyes as they speak. To greet others with a hug or a warm welcome. To grab their hand when walking the dog….
Be kind. Love hard. Live fully. Stay present. Go to yoga.
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