Stepping Up

When I awoke this morning I was angry at my neighbors before the first full moment of the day had passed. I hope that same anger wasn’t churning inside all last night in my sleep, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was. A few nights ago I had a steady stream of unusual dreams. I don’t recall experiencing or feeling anger in them, but wondered next morning about the source of all the dramatic and idiotic occurrences that went on in them.

I have been focusing on learning how to become more aware of my thoughts, feelings, and emotion as I pass through each day, so when I awoke with anger this morning, I was able to stop, step back from it, and look at it as though I were some other passive observer who had been given permission to look inside my mind. The ability to step outside myself and observe myself gave me the ability to see the anger from a more objective perspective, so that I might more calmly get control of it and put it to rest. I have always been amazed that humans have the ability to think and then step outside of their thoughts while the thinking continues, and observe themselves thinking as if they were another person. Who is the real person when this happens?

Later in the day, when taking a hike around the bluffs of Capitola village, and then down on to the Capitola wharf to see what the fishermen were catching, I began to take notice of my walking. I tried to remain aware, moment by moment, of my foot steps over the uneven wooden planks on the wharf. I have difficulty walking on uneven or bumpy surfaces because of my peripheral neuropathy.

My feet feel heavy and I don’t lift them as high as I should when walking, which can cause me to trip over the tips of my shoes if I’m not careful. I’ve tripped enough times that I’ve learned to be careful. See sharp or be flat. I can only be careful if I am aware of the problem and am making a conscientious effort to not forget to lift my feet high enough to clear the uneven places. My awareness exercise for today, then, was just to be cognizant of each step, a sort of walking meditation, and learn how to enjoy walking like this, rather than fighting it with my mind.

My mind, if left unguarded, will tell me that this is distressing and disturbing having to pay attention to the height of my steps. I’m learning how to shut off those kind of negative thoughts that tend to keep me from getting out and getting the exercise my body craves. Rather than listen to this river of constant complaint, I’m beginning to learn how, through a sort meditative awareness, to shut off the negative voice, and listen to a new one that says just the opposite, to mindfully pick up my feet while walking and enjoy it! What other shortcomings in life might I be able to conquer?

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