“Like a genial holy man distributing his blessings, he bestows a little squirt of piss on to the tyres of the cars he waddles past.”– Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Back by popular demand, here is another installment of ‘Things I get to look at while my dog sniffs and pees on things’!
I’ll be honest, my early morning dog walks aren’t always the mindful, wonder-filled excursion that my first post may have led you to believe.
Having mostly enjoyed my quiet, humdrum lockdown life, I’ve recently been feeling absolutely trapped by the monotony of it. On occasion, the thought of taking Mac on another bloody walk fills me with dread.
This time, the premise for this collection of photos, which I call “The Absurdity of Routine”, was to turn the camera on Mac every time he stopped to pee, which was actually somewhere close to 20 times on the one walk! By the end of it, he was running on vapours, and his legs-lifts were more a show of good faith than actually necessary.
Silliness aside, I’ve signed up to Firdose Moonda’s Souldier Yoga monthly membership for continued education in yoga’s history, philosophy and practice. It was during one of her workshops that I was offered a different way of looking at my daily chores.
The topic we were focusing on in May was Samā, a Sufi ceremony of “listening”. The Samā performances often include singing, playing instruments, and dancing. Firdose introduced me to Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan, a great name in the traditional Sufi qawwali music genre. This form of devotional singing is very repetitive with the intention of letting its listeners get lost and enveloped until they come into contact with divinity.
During our repetitive yoga practice with qawwali music playing in the background (or any other repetitive genre that our ears were accustomed to), we were encouraged to feel into the repetition, searching for new sensations and depths as each shape came back around again and again.
Searching for the subtle depths in a dog walk, a pile of dishes, or a basket of laundry isn’t coming easily to me these days, but I’ve come to use that as a little indicator. If I can’t sink into the chore, then perhaps I need to tend to my stress and anxiety a bit more, because it’s clearly getting in the way of being present. As Carolin Polter (a fellow Souldier Yoga student) shared on her Instagram the other day:
“Being present isn’t easy, but everything is easier when you’re present.”
And it doesn’t hurt to get a change of scene by taking the dog on a hike every now and then 😉