I was paying less attention to what was going on around me when we were walking one day a couple weeks ago. Of course, I was watching for traffic, debris on the path and other dogs coming our way, but I was completely absorbed by sorting out my to do list, crafting questions and going through the myriad of details for my upcoming conference for Reiki practitioners. I was enjoying the walk, and the opportunity for stepping away from the laptop and getting some fresh air, but I wasn't noticing the details around me.
And, I didn't notice that I wasn't noticing.
We walked almost the full 2 miles in this same way. Who knows what delights we missed that day. If a deer stepped onto the path, I would have noticed, but had there been a doe with a new-born fawn nestled not far from each other in the thicket like I spied one day this past summer, the opportunity would have been lost on me that day. What a precious moment that would have been to lose to simple busyness.
Finally, about a quarter mile from home I noticed. I dropped the planning and sorting and got out of my head. I remembered my meditation training - multi-tasking is actually stressful for you and mindfulness, i.e., the act of paying attention to what you are doing while you are doing it, is stress-reducing - not to mention just plain more enjoyable.
A block later we stopped to play with Genevieve's friends Gypsy and Navy (Bean) who were outside in their front yard. With happy greetings and tail wags for Gg & me, I got down on the ground to give out a round of head pats & belly rubs. As I stood up and took a deep breath really feeling more connected and happy to be feeling less pressure about the looming tasks. I caught a glimpse of a dark bird with my peripheral vision. I assumed it was a vulture as I was turning around to look anyway.
I looked up and it was a bald eagle. I was so stunned it took me a second to process, but there was no mistaking it. The brilliant white head shown in the sunlight against the vividly clear blue sky and then I noticed the same about the tail. Casually, it made a large circle just barely above a few houses across the street and then slowly came back toward me, flew directly over my head, across The Field and off in the direction from which we had just come.
A bald eagle. A bald eagle in Ellicott City, Maryland. What a fantastic reward for getting out of my head and returning to the present moment. A moment I surely would have missed if I hadn't.
What grand or small sights could you be missing when you aren't paying attention?