I was biking home after work yesterday, thinking about how gorgeous the weather was and how thankful I am to live in a city where I can bike home along a beautiful canal. I glanced across the water to the Arboretum. “I love it in there,” I thought. “I should spend time there more often.”
So I did. I turned my bike around, biked back up the hill to the locks, crossed over, and flew down the hill into the Arboretum. This was spontaneous for me. It has been a busy few weeks and I’ve either had a class, workshop or some other event to attend most nights of the week. But last night, I had nothing in my schedule. I had the whole night to myself. Originally, I had planned on just biking home, jumping on the couch and not really moving for the rest of the night (it was my first night off in what felt like a long time, I was damn well going to spend it any way I wanted!). But instead, I changed my route.
Just biking through the Arboretum makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a completely different place. It’s bordered by the Rideau Canal and filled with a variety of domestic and exotic trees. I love the willow trees that hang near the water. After taking a few pics, I found a cozy spot under a tree next to the water. I pulled out my phone and listened to a 10-minute guided meditation. I was a bit distracted, hearing the other cyclists and pedestrians going by, but I really enjoyed it. I felt the soft breeze on my skin, smelled the scent of a nearby lilac tree, and listened to the birds chirping and the water lapping against the bank. It was idyllic. It was the first time in a long time that I felt truly present and in the moment. I felt grateful and calm.
The rest of my ride home took me through the tulip gardens that have been planted next to Dow’s Lake for the annual Tulip Festival. Another bonus of changing my route! I stopped to take some photos of the blooming flowers, and offered to take a photo for a family. The young mother was obviously thrilled to have a photo taken with her husband and two little ones. It’s incredible how taking just a little bit of time out for yourself can re-energize you to do more for others.
I can’t wait to do it all again at the end of today’s workday.
Today’s Reflection: How can I incorporate more “me time” into my daily routine?