Thursday, July 20, 2017

Treat Yourself Well


In the not-too-early morning, I decide to take a long bike ride-adventure. Not hungry yet, but knowing I'll be hungry soon,  I pack a bag of grapes, a bag of almonds. I have a destination in mind, but it's not definitive.

I head for the canyon trail with plans to stop at a certain park, but as I pedal through, I have the energy to go farther.  A few miles later I come to a favorite park with a meandering creek, and in the not-so-early morning, it's almost empty. I pedal down a dirt path until I come to a shaded grassy knoll, right above the creek.

 I lay the bike down, take my snacks, and nestle in. I am smiling!!!--- and if heaven happens to look downward, she too will smile. For in this simple, simple moment, I am genuinely content. I can hardly believe my good fortune: the sound of water dancing, the temperature that neither chills nor heats, the solitude that surrounds. The dappled sunshine is an intriguing study of light and shadow. The sweet grapes and the crunchy almonds, a seat at the throne of nature--it sounds so funny--but it almost seems to good to be real.

Refreshed, I'm ready to ride again. This time as I pedal down the trail, I'm struck by how friendly everyone is on this glorious summer morning. Almost every person I pass, smiles or waves, or even says hello.

Is it because I'm still smiling? Like a good case of chicken pox, is my happiness contagious? Is a true case of contentedness as visual as a red cape?

Or was it something else more sinister, like had I forgotten to put on a shirt or was it like the other day when I'd drunk a green milkshake and a big green dot was left on my nose; no one had the mercy to tell me to check my reflection--had it made them all smile too?

Ahhh, but I soon realize, it has nothing to do with me. The friendly walkers, the smiling bikers, are all people, out in the woods, taking care of themselves, treating themselves well. In so doing, they are compelled to treat others well too, even if it's just a friendly wave.

So here's the self-discovery bonus of the morning: as a believer in treating myself well, it makes me more aware of treating others well too. After I spend an afternoon studying by the pool, jumping in when it gets too hot, jumping in  when I cannot annotate one. more. paragraph., I wonder who else could benefit from such a lovely afternoon. Ahhhh, I know who. My lovely friend who will start her fourth round of chemotherapy next week. I send an email to put her reprieve in motion.

Contentedness and peace are like an excellent book, a delicious cake, a new song--we can't keep them to ourselves--but we only have the words, the tastes, the sounds to share when we first, experience them ourselves--or when we treat ourselves well--first.





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