I enjoy taking time out of my day to go exploring in the woods. How about you?
It is a nice getaway from the hustle-and-bustle of the day. Whether I head out for a brisk walk, a run, or a slow meander, my goal is always the same; to enjoy a mindful, meditative experience in the great outdoors.
My usual visit is to a park near home that has many trails in a forest that connect with each other. So I can make the adventure as short or long as desired. I have a favorite spot that I’ll stop at for a sitting meditation, using a fallen tree as my chair, overlooking a small brook that converges into a gentle river.
Depending on the time of day, I may find deer wandering, woodpeckers rattling their favorite trees, squirrels rustling, and birds chirping. No bears… yet, lol.
At the beginning of my journey into nature, my mind may be in a state of chatter, pondering items on my to do list, or working through the challenge of the day. Yet, when my feet begin taking steps, I purposely implement a process of steps that ultimately calm my chatter down. Well, not for the entire trip. The chatter is a natural state that the mind enjoys, and it comes and goes throughout.
First, I will place my attention on my nostrils to feel my breathe go in, and out. In, and out. Then, I begin to count my steps to myself as I take them, counting either 1-2-3-4 or just 1-2, 1-2. Sometimes doing these two steps together is enough to lessen the chatter. But other times, the chatter gets louder.
Then, while still focused on my breathing and counting, I will open my ears to the sounds, and my eyes to the sights, of the forest. I may also add another step of visualizing my breathe flow in and out of my heart space. And finally, I may switch from counting my steps to reciting a mantra.
I’ll do this multiple step process for a certain duration, and then stop on purpose, going back to just focusing on my breathe. And at that point, I find, many times, that the chatter does remain at bay, allowing me to truly enjoy the peace and serenity of my natural surroundings.
If you are unable to get to a forest right now, the 7 minute video below will take you there, if you like. Yes, nature is calling!
What is one small step you can do to add mindfulness and meditation to your day?