Mindfulness and the Natural World

A key element of mindfulness practice is becoming aware of where we choose to place our attention.

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Most of us spend a lot of our day thinking which includes analyzing, judging, labeling, setting goals, planning, remembering, comparing and reflecting.  There is nothing wrong with thinking itself, but we can tend to over-think or ruminate which can sometimes lead to worry and anxiety.

With mindfulness, we are practicing shifting our attention from our stressed out ‘monkey-mind’ into our physical ‘embodied’ experience we call the sensing mode.  Try this.  FEEL what is happening right now in your body…..Pause and take a few seconds here…. Perhaps you are aware of the sensations of breathing in your belly or the touch of the feet on the floor.  Switching into this mode for periods of time can be really nourishing.

Hands down, my favourite mindfulness meditations are experienced in the natural world, where we are effortlessly drawn into our bodily senses.

Listen…to the calls of the songbirds.
Feel…the touch of the breeze on the skin.
Look….at the clouds in the clear blue sky.
Smell…the damp earth after it rains.
Taste….the sweetness of a warm, sun-ripened strawberry.

So give your busy mind a break and slip into the sensing mode.  Here’s a simple practice you can do.  Try strolling through your neighbourhood enjoying your own company, or sharing it with a pet, friend or family member.

1.       Notice one thing you’ve never seen before.

2.       Spend part of your walk completely silent paying attention to all the sounds you can hear (birds, cars, lawn mowers, the wind in the trees).

3.       When you are home, share what you experienced with a trusted friend or family member so they ‘catch’ your story.

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Catch you on the flip side -- outside! For more information on the upcoming 8 week Tues evening program Oct-Nov at Perth Phsyiotherapy in Perth, Ontario go to my MBSR information page.