So after dinner last night, I didn’t feel at all guilty about giving goodnight kisses and heading out on a long walk instead of helping everyone get sorted for bedtime.
The weather was beautiful - warm and dry and the sun was just beginning to lower in the sky at 8pm. And still almost two hours of daylight to go. The fields were lit with golden hues, wheat and grasses swaying slightly in the breeze. A season of hasty growth - the wheat fields are as high as my elbow now.
Such a beautiful night - I was eager to drink it all in. Drink in the colors, the textures, the big sky, the solitude, all of it feeling like just what I needed. My pace was brisk, but not hurried. I had nothing I needed to be back for, no “shoulds” hanging over my head, just the freedom to be outside and on my own.
Ten minutes into my walk, I noticed a tiny pebble in my right shoe. I wriggled my foot around to find a more comfortable position for the pebble. It was pretty tiny and not actually painful, just uncomfortable.
I continued on my walk, letting my thoughts and stresses from the day melt out of my mind, leaving them behind on the trail.
It felt much like a walking meditation, soaking up the beauty and peace, letting go of the stale thoughts and busyness within my mind. And yet I had the niggling sense that something wasn’t quite right.
Oh, that pebble pressing into my heel. It was such a little thing, and yet it was making its presence known. I didn’t want to bother to stop, untie my shoe and search out the pebble. What was a little discomfort in the midst of such splendor? It could wait until I got home.
I didn’t want to disrupt the magic of my experience. I continued on my walk.
Until suddenly, without any forethought, I simply stopped, took off my shoe and shook out what looked like a large grain of sea salt. I smiled at its particularness, replaced my shoe and continued on my way.
My foot was so much happier - to be softly cushioned by my shoe with no little shards of gravel digging into the pad of my heel. I smiled and felt gratitude wash over me. It was such a small thing (literally) and yet clearly had been bothering me more than I had realized.
With the pebble gone, the gratitude continued to flow in, not just for the relief in my foot. It was like undoing the stopper in a bottle.
With all the pet stress this week, I had forgotten about gratitude.
It took a lesson from a pebble in my shoe - that it’s okay to stop and say “I’m not comfortable with this.”
I had gotten used to being stalwart through family stress and pet stress, essentially just gritting my teeth as a way of making it through.
I’m wondering now what would have been the power of stopping and saying, “I’m not comfortable with this,” at various times during the week.
I’m wondering now what would have been the power of practicing gratitude through the tribulations of tracking down medical supplies, changing bandages, administering medicines, paying bills and monitoring an infection.
Sometimes we feel trapped by circumstances, and yet I wonder if we are more likely trapped by our reaction to circumstances.
I continued my walk towards home, feeling lighter and freer, and feeling heartened by the wisdom and peace that the Universe provides.
What do you notice in this moment? Is there a pebble in your shoe? What is it asking you to pay attention to?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.