A Different Kind of Wealth From The Simplest of Investments: Noticing

Some time ago I heard a National Public Radio story that said city dwellers’ walking speed indicates the residents’ degree of economic wealth. The faster people walk in a city, the greater the wealth there.

There’s a different kind of wealth that is unfolding outside my kitchen window. It’s one I need to be reminded of in the busyness of all my “to do’s” and the press of city life where speed is always of the essence.

There they come.

My tall, slim neighbor and her senior beagle in a measured, harmonious stroll.  His markings are clear, though softer on his head and muzzle. Perhaps it is white hair. I will look next time we meet and greet, but don’t want to intrude, either.

She moves as if engaged in a walking meditation. You can see each step in slowed, mindful motion: the lifting of a foot, the forward swing, the placing of it, and weight shifting to it. The sequence repeats with the other leg. She paces herself to match his pace.

He makes his way trotting, still with surprising pep for his age but with an uncharacteristic effort from even two weeks ago. He, like all animals, is in the moment: unconcerned with the past, not preoccupied with the future. She, too, seems to be absorbing the fullness of each moment except that in her slow, mindful walk, I know she knows… their time together is coming to an end.

When we allow ourselves to love a creature like this who is woven into the rich, everyday fabric of our lives, we pay a high price in pain and sadness when it’s time to say goodbye. But the return on our love once the pain softens—and it does–is an enduring wealth like no other. 

We will have a fullness of heart for a lifetime.

Amidst our business and organizational dealings, fast pace is seductive. It commands our attention and pre-occupies us with the whirlwind of activity associated with achieving business objectives and economic returns. But somewhere within the whole of our lives, our coffers may slowly be depleting.

We must stay in touch with a slower, meaningful rhythm that reveals such extraordinary wealth. How? With the most minimal of investments: simply by noticing.

Bring your attention to your heart area. Find that place that has its own calm, measured pace. Soften the corners of your eyes. Take deep belly breaths if you choose. Now, look with your heart… What do you see, feel or hear that you love or for which you are grateful? Where are you observing love in other people within their own lives?

Bear witness to it in others, and within yourself. For bearing witness in this way both reveals and provides a different kind of wealth. One that is an antidote for busyness and speed. One that is an enduring wealth like no other found by simply noticing, in this moment.

U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240

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