I'm quite good about taking time to slow down. I do believe it's in my nature. I'm very much an observer - of my environment, of things, of people and certainly of the beauty all around me. This is most likely because I'm a very visual person - my work evolves around the things that I see and take notice of. Like everyone, I'm often rushing around - getting kids to school (or wherever it is they need to be), getting to appointments and meetings, rushing to deadlines and just trying to accomplish everything within the timeframe of a day that seems much too short.
I've taken to exercising outdoors again. I've gotten out of the gym and started hitting the pavement - or the sand. It's such a better place to be. There's so much more to be seen and appreciated. Our scenery, though much like the trees and the houses and the water is constant, but even still they're all constantly changing. The sun's position, the clouds and the time of day all affect the landscape around us. The ocean may look angry and grey one day and blue and tranquil the next and sometimes, depending on the sun, it may seem as though it's covered by millions of little diamonds... the colors on the horizon are ever changing, as are the colors on the trees and the flowers that dot my paths. Each day I notice something new - a seagull gracefully diving into the ocean in search for its dinner... a child learning to ride a bicycle... a couple of paddle boarders off in the distance... Happy runners, cyclists and walkers who always nod and say hello as they pass you by... Dogs who wag their tails eagerly pulling their owners along... I notice all this beauty. I make a point of doing so. It shapes my day. I live in an area that is so spectacularly beautiful and it's so easy to not pay attention and not to take notice any of it all and instead to get lost in the rhythm and momentum of daily life. It's so easy to focus on the issues at hand and problems that still need to be solved. With just a small bit of effort it's just as easy to take note of all the wonder that surrounds us, to count our blessings instead of worries.
As the stresses of life bear down on us so heavily it's important to be able to escape, even for a brief period. To get away one can regroup, refocus and readjust. My thoughts become clear. I find answers to solutions. And sometimes I just lose myself in reverie. No matter how hard or long the course I create, I end up relaxed, rejuvenated, invigorated and satisfied. And sometimes it is hard to drag oneself out - but I've never regretted a good workout and I always regret when I don't. As I set my goals - time and distance - I work with determination to get to where I'm headed and then, once I reach my halfway point I pause for a moment and refocus so that on the way back, it's not about a personal goal, but about beauty - about taking the time to stop and smell the roses.