Ami and I went on a long walk today, a bit longer than our normal long walks. We found a new path off of the end of Nootka Street that cuts down into a logged but still wild bushy area that circles around to connect with the Penticton Street trails web. It’s a long way, lots of time to think.
Ami, as usual, was padding along ahead of me smelling every shrub, peeing on every seventh rock, and occasionally he would stop dead in his tracks, staring out into the field at a big black stump that he couldn’t figure out, wasn’t sure what it was. All sorts of doggie imaginations scurrying through his mind until I kept calmly walking saying, “Yeah, it does look sort of creepy, doesn’t it buddy, could be all sorts of things, but it’s just a stump,” and Ami would sort of shrug a furry shoulder, almost nod, and then start walking again quickly gaining point ahead of me to go back to sniffing and peeing.
My mind began to wander and suddenly I found myself listing all the many things I struggle with, every single one of my challenges, naming them off in my head, then moving on to the next. You know the sort of thing, insecurity, fear, needing approval from others, ego, shyness, anger, negativity, reactivity, and so on and so on. Then I decided to list all the good things about myself like being funny, smart, and liking animals and all the things I’ve accomplished in the last three years. Then I tried to put the challenges together with the good stuff and make it fit like scissoring jigsaw pieces so you can force them into place. Some of it connected, some of it didn’t.
Ami stopped again this time staring at a frozen black pond. He seemed both scared and curious. He started to head to the pond, but when he put his first toe near the ice, I called him back just in case something horrible happened. He shook his head, had a quick defiant pee, and we continued on our way, him on point, me trudging along, the sun starting to make the snow glisten on the path. I listened to my boots crunching through the white crust.
My mind started trudging again, too. I went back to thinking about all my challenges and all the good things about myself and how hard it was to accept the former and hard to truly believe the latter.
Trudge trudge trudge, crunch, crunch, crunch.
Then I started to think about all those army and prison movies where, when the guy’s being inducted or incarcerated and he’s in the beginning reception-like stage, someone shoves a pile of clothes and gear across the counter towards him, you know, like uniforms, soap, boots, maybe, a steel cup, a big knapsack and a gun in the soldier’s case, whatever it might be, all his kit. The guy who shoves it towards him says something like, “This is your gear; it’s all you get, take care of it; you’re going to need all of it; some of it’s heavy and painful, don’t lose it; like I said, you’ll need it,” and off goes the soldier/prisoner to his next stage holding his gear close to his chest with both arms, his very important precious bundle.
I thought about that pile of gear, that bundle, and I started imagining some beleaguered spirit guide or someone like that, 48 years ago when I was forming in the womb, standing across a counter from my soul. He shoves a big bundle of stuff towards me. It’s all my challenges and all my good stuff. He says, “This is your bundle; it’s all you get, take care of it; you’re going to need all of it,” and I nod accepting the then unfamiliar bundle from him drawing it towards me. I accept it.
And suddenly I thought, yeah, I accept my bundle. I could feel tears actually welling up in my eyes as I thought to myself, yeah, and I love my bundle, too, all of it, and I have needed all of it.
I suddenly felt the sun warm on my neck and could hear Ami rummaging as he sniffed a particularly interesting shrub. I felt like hugging myself. Ami suddenly looked around at me, his big tongue hanging out, smiling. He’s quite the bundle, too, is my houndie hound, aint’cha buddy. “Good boy, Ami,” I said, and he came over for a hug. I buried my face in his fur and gave him a big hug. Then he had to go sniff something ’cause sometimes he gets shy, too. I smiled and wiped the snow off my knees standing up.
Then we trudged on, crunching the snow and seeing our breath, and I thought to myself, I really like this new path we’re on.