This week’s I noticed some irony whilst breaking my own routine and taking the dog for a walk! Which lead me to a reflective question about rushing around in circles…
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Hello and welcome to this weekly mini-episode of the Curious Coach podcast. Last week, I had a break to my normal daily routine. For two days I had the pleasure of attending online training that was being run out of the United States. This meant that my working day would start at 1pm and potentially run to 10pm. Practically, this meant two days working from home and having two days of lazy mornings before getting stuck into the training.
And as I discussed in a recent podcast, it’s amazing what can happen when you disrupt your routine. In this case I found myself going for a walk each morning with our seven year old Labrador – Clara. This was also a change of routine for Clara as well, as she normally had to wait until the evening time to get her walk in.
Anyway, this particular morning, we set off. Whilst I could see other people scurrying off to work, we weren’t in a rush. It was sunny day. There was a gentle breeze. The sky was mainly blue with a few puffs of clouds here and there. Clara would stop quite frequently to sniff a lamppost, a wall or a gate. No doubt picking up on the scents of those who’d travelled before her. She’d simply stop, sniff, sniff some more and then, when satisfied, she’d continue on her way, until she picked up another interesting scent that had to be explored.
Once we got into the local park, the process continued but this time she’d also combine sniffing with finding occasional juicy blades of grass to eat. There’s also some special criterial that only Clara knows for which grass is ready to be eaten and which should be left. I’ve no idea what these criteria are, but Clara certainly seems to know them.
Anyway, what made this walk so special was the fact that neither I, nor Clara, were in a rush. I let her have all the time she needed to sniff and eat grass and in return I got to simply be more observant about what she was doing an what was going on around me as people rushed past. Kids on their way to school, workers rushing to catch the bus. Parents out for a stroll pushing a pram whilst reading something on their phone. Runners and walkers out getting exercise – still rushing around. It was actually quite blissful. Upon returning to the house, both myself and Clara seemed to be in quite good moods!
Now, this is very different to the evening walks that we’d normally take. Normally they’re something that has to be done. Clara needs her walk and whether I like it or not, I need to take her out. And in doing so, I’d be doing it with a certain efficiency. Rushing round on a particular route. When she’d stop to sniff or eat grass, I’d be asking her to “come-on”, making those universal clicking sounds that every dog owner seems to be able to do and which most dogs seem very adapt an ignoring. And the irony only hit me during those two days of relaxed mornings walks. Here I am, leaving the house to walk the dog, feeling that it’s something I have to do, and that I’m in a rush – that I’ve somewhere to be. And the irony, the somewhere that I’m in a rush to be, is right back in the house I’ve just left.
And this brings me to the reflective exercise for this week. What are you doing or thinking that’s keeping you rushing around in circles? Like being in a rush to walk the dog so that you can get back to house. Feeling that it’s something that has to be done. In this simple case, it’s about me choosing to look after Clara. To keep her physically fit and mentally stimulated. But it’s also about having a relaxing stroll and using that time to decompress from the busy day I’ve just had. It’s important time, for both of us, so why rush through it? And yes, whilst the destination might appear to be the same place as where I started, by taking time; by enjoying the experience; by slowing down; by being more aware of the world around me; by appreciating Clara’s company; and noticing Clara’s curiosity about the world; I’ll actually be in a totally different place by the time we get back to our starting point.
Anyway, that’s it for this week. I hope you have some fun reflecting and I’d love to hear how you got on, or what you noticed during the week. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that’s stephen with a p.h. Full details of this and all the other episodes can be found on my website at stephenclements.ie/podcast
Thanks for listening and until next week, don’t forget - stay curious!