The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Walk

I finished editing the script at 4.30pm yesterday, and like a puppy, my inner child perked up in barely concealed excitement. A walk in the park loomed on the horizon. I tidied up my writing space and glanced out the window to see dark clouds swirling ahead. Was it wise to be outdoors this evening? The instant I thought that, I felt the heavy stone of disappointment drop in me. A promise is a promise, I decided, and began packing my satchel. In went a thick sketchpad, new colour pencils and Julia Cameron’s The Sound of Paper.

I underestimated the evening traffic, and the extra fifteen minutes of bumper-to-bumper crawling was enough for the rain to catch up. By the time I swung into the parking lot, the fine drizzle had turned into sizeable drops.

“Will you melt?” my school athletic coach used to demand, when we tried using the rain as an excuse to loll around instead of train. I got out my umbrella, hoisted my satchel on my shoulders and began walking.

The park was almost empty except for a few joggers who didn’t see the point of seeking shelter when they were already soaking wet from their run. The familiar scent of damp, heavy sweetness hung in the air and I took a deep breath, remembering the days when Tinselbits and I used to run almost every evening. True, we talked more than we actually ran and I hated her for making me do the stairs, but a bond was formed over the huffing and puffing that has stood the test of time.

For 20 minutes I walked alone, accompanied only by the soft crunch of gravel beneath my feet, the whispering of leaves and the splash of raindrops on the lake. I passed a bench and looked wistfully at it. How I would have loved to sit there and sketch. Then a troop of monkeys scurried behind it and I changed my mind.

The rain grew heavier and my satchel was in danger of getting wet, so I surrendered and looked for appropriate place to shelter. Looking around, I spotted a gazebo-like structure perched on stilts, towering above all the other little gazebos. Perfect.

Settling down at the top, I could see the mountains in the distance and the voices of the trees were louder. For the next hour I read, I sketched and I just sat. I watched the joggers run past, the squirrels chase each other on a tree, the butterfly darting around the flowers and the leaves falling to the ground. For that one hour, I felt that rare sense of connection with myself and the world around me. And it felt really good.

I urge you to take a walk too. Just be with yourself and do the very things you feel are a ‘waste of time’ or ‘childish’. Yesterday, I realised that being a grown up is not much fun and I don’t know why I couldn’t wait to be one when I was a child. We forget the simple pleasures in life. We give so much time to others and starve ourselves on the leftovers of our day. When you spend time with yourself, be it an hour or ten minutes, you walk away knowing yourself just a little better and that makes life just a little easier.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Starlight. Two weeks ago on a Saturday night i was extremely stressed out about work, finance and the routine of sending my kid to school, homework etc. My spouse decided to take me for a drive and we ended up at Port Dickson at 3am. We lay on the beach (which surprisingly had many like minded people)and watched the stars twinkle so bright against the inky night sky. They were huge and looked low enough to pluck. We stayed and watched the tide flow in. I was enveloped by God's greatness and felt humbled and at the same time incredibly happy.Happy with me and everything i encompass.Since then,I have taken to walking in my garden at midnight with my dogs for company, never realising how beautiful and alive it is. The smell and sight of flowers which bloom only at night, the crickets and their song, an army of frogs meeting nightly under the mango tree, the earthy smell of grass wet with has kept me in touch with myself again and the wonder that is my life. My belief in God has become greater.My relationships are so much sweeter. And the whirl of confusion that had surrounded me the whole of last year has lifted. Take care Starlight and Happy New Year. God bless you.Am looking forward to reading your experiences thru out the year. Hari Om.

12:32 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Anon. It warmed my heart on day when I need it most. I haven't had a star-strewn night in a long while. And I am so happy to hear that the beauty around you has lifted you from the folds of confusion. You have inspired me to continue these magical walks. And you have a wonderful spouse too! ;)

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi starlight, your writing is just so beautiful and somehow these recent posts seem to relate to my current situation and state of mind. i've been feeling really off-balanced lately, both physically (due to some injury that has prevented me from doing any yoga and exercise!)and mentally. i wonder when i can get out of this rut. your articles always make me feel better :) take care dear! -isha

12:21 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

Isha, thank you so much for your incredibly kind words! Am so sorry to hear you're out of action physically and that your off kilter mentally. I hope you're still able to practice the gentle poses and find comfort in them. Do get recover soon! Many hugs!!

1:48 AM  

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