I took a walk with the dog in the crisp fall air. I threw on my sweatshirt and some slip on sneakers, and off we went. About 1/4 of the way around my loop I felt the smallest piece of gravel in my shoe. It was barely a bother, and certainly not worth me stopping to address it at that moment. As I walked it shifted, and temporarily I felt nothing. However, after a few more steps it would return to its original position.

Although this little stone was nothing of consequence in terms of discomfort, what I noticed was its distraction. I began to anticipate feeling it, taking my mind off  listening to the sound of the birds, or the wind or my surroundings. It became a thought in my mind when my mind should have been clear.

Do we have tiny stones in our “shoes”? Are there things in our lives that we tolerate, work around, and live with because we just don’t feel the need to deal with them at this time? We may not realize that although they don’t stop our performance, they distract us along the way. They keep us from being fully present because they deposit anticipation into our minds.

I did stop and take that stone out of my shoe. It took but a moment, and made the last half of my walk more pleasant. I just didn’t have to think about it anymore. Perhaps today is the day we start to remove one little stone at a time.

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