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  • Writer's pictureDr Jo Johnson

Making mindfulness fun again

I used to take my friends’ dog Rufus for a walk regularly. He (and they) were glad of the extra walks, what with him being a large, city-dwelling Labrador. I soon found our walks became an essential part of my weekly routine.

Rufus’ joyous and boisterous greeting was always a high point.

Every Monday, we would have a walk in our local area and I found it a great way to turn my focus outwards and notice subtle changes in the seasons. Sometimes I would literally stop and smell the roses, while Rufus was busy smelling something definitely not as pleasant.

And of course, I had to stay alert to his automatic and instant hoover response. Burgers, chicken bones, cupcake cases and anything else even remotely edible (lots of stories…)

He was always happy sniffing and ever optimistic that the next hotdog would be just around the corner, as indeed it often was. (A fun kind of hypervigilance, I guess.)

I found his example made it easier to stay out of worrying about the past / problem-solving the future (AKA human-mode, for many of us). Just being with him and following his example seemed to make being here now so much easier and more enjoyable:

~ the shape of a leaf uncurling

~ just how many colours reflect off a horse chestnut

~ how LOUD parakeets can be

Almost like his mindfulness powers were flowing through the lead that connected us!

And it’s always nice to have a friend with you, especially one who you can be in comfortable silence with.

Funnily enough, even when I’d not been consciously thinking about it, a new idea in relation to whatever problem I’d been mulling over would often pop up on my way home.

We all know that getting some daylight and going for a walk is good for us, but I guess we all need to find our own purpose to it.

Rufus sadly recently passed over the rainbow bridge. I write this as a way of remembering him - and to remind myself of the many times in which he made mindfulness powerfully contagious!

Has this reconnected you to any ideas that you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear from you in a comment below.

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