Friday, May 14, 2010

Snails on the Path

(Snail pic is by Slinkachu, a London Artist who used the shell designs for for a series of designs dubbed ‘Inner City Snail – a slow-moving street art project’.)Really some people are just so creative.

Snails. They are everywhere I go. I walk a number of paths each morning with the Mouse and our two Hounds. I don't know if they are an ecological nuisance or the by-product of growing algae in our lakes, rivers and streams or just in abudance in my suburban oasis.

Whatever the case, I try and avoid them like the plague. I literally cringe everytime I hear the crunch of one underfoot or see the slimely trail of destruction as I glance down. It makes me sad to know I so easily and brutally killed another living creature and I admit, I am fearful of the karma gods and try to tread lightly wherever I go.

Avoiding these snails becomes a focus just as when you lose it you end up with snail bits on the soles of your sneakers, it got me thinking (nothing like a daily two hour walk with a snoozing baby and two placid dogs to get your mind a thinkin'). These snails are like people we meet, every day, daily. Sometimes we are mindful of those around us and walk softly, careful not to disturb or injure. Others could care less and stomp and barrel through ambivelent or clueless to the needs or journeys of others. I choose to think that most of us really do care but get DISTRACTED.

Distraction and loss of focus, I muse, is the key to understanding why we hurt and injued the snails/people in our lives. So then how can we learn to walk lightly in the world?

Here is what I discovered on my walk today.

When snail/people crushing occurs the offender(in this case me) is usually:

1) multi-tasking and therefore distracted.

Today I was in full multi-tasking-Momma-mode: baby in stroller, dogs on leashes, ear piece in ear and I was busy chatting with a friend when most of my snail-ocides occurred. I always try and fit as many busy tasks in a day as I can. Let's be honest,life is busy. Even busier for Moms, sometimes we need to take a step back and focus on one task at a time.

2) focusing on what others were doing

Whether it was watching the high school workers sneak off premises to snag a smoke or checking out my neighbour's garden or peering into the senior's residence,I am focused outward. My husband calls it extreme nosiness, I prefer curiosity in others. Whatever it is, it distracts you from yourself and that' where the focus should be. Not in a selfish way but in a how-am-I-going-about-the-world-and-what-effect-does-that-have-on-others way. What are THEY doing? Better to focus on what I am doing!

3)Focusing on what I need to do instead of just enjoying the moment

This is a big one for me. My mind wanders, a lot. My mind wanders when I am supposed to be meditating, in the shower, while talking on the phone, while reading books, while having sex (sorry honey!) and of course while walking Miss Mouse and the hounds. I have learned from the ethos of those who have sought and attained true happiness that this is a big one. Becoming mindful is a skill, it takes practice and lots of it.

So there you have it. The way to avoid hurting people -ahem I mean snails- and possibly becoming a little more happier in the process is to:

Try and only do one thing at a time
Focus on what YOU are doing and not what others do and,
Enjoy the moment

Maybe some ecologists can live with a few less snails in their world but I don't want the slime of any more snails on my conscience.

So my caution: walk lighty people, you never know who is underfoot.



  1. wonderful and full of pep!

  2. Words of wisdom, as always, for the MouseMom. Might want to fix that typo in the third last para, send line, old pal!