Last week was another busy week in the office. When I got home on Friday evening, my mind was racing. It was full of thoughts of what I hadn’t achieved, what more there was to do the following week, and a number of other frustrations from the previous few days. I felt tense and restless – despite the fact that the week had ended and it was time to enjoy the week-end!
Sound familiar? I bet it does… I think this is what the average working week does to most of us…
Luckily, I had a week-end treat in store: a camping week-end with friends in the Yorkshire Dales National Park!
We spent the week-end walking in beautiful hills across landscapes of forests, meadows, heathland and fast-flowing rivers. We enjoyed simple things such as the soft sound of the breeze in the trees, the fresh smell of the country air, the crashing sound of water in the rivers, the feeling of endorphins flowing through our bodies as we walked, the swifts and swallows swooping above our heads and the simple pleasure of laughing and chatting with friends! My senses were engaged with the world around me. I felt very alive.
On the Sunday, we made it up to one of the Park’s summits, where we stopped to eat our lunch. After eating my cheese sandwich (which tasted amazing after 8 miles of walking!), I took a few minutes to contemplate the view and pay attention to what was going on in my mind and body.
It was extremely peaceful. All I could hear was a very gentle breeze. All I could see were hills, farms, roads and green fields dotted with sheep – extending for miles all around. I closed my eyes for a moment. I noticed my body was very relaxed. The restlessness had disappeared. I noticed the worried thoughts and frustrations from the week had evaporated. They even seemed irrelevant when actively bringing them to mind again. It was as if the fresh air and the hills around me had ‘filtered’ my thoughts to leave me only with those relating to the really important things in my life. My mind seemed now to be dwelling on my family, my friends, my good health, the very simple pleasure of just sitting there, alive, on the rocks – faced with such a beautiful landscape.
Spending time in nature had once again brought me that unique sense of contentment, calm, and happiness which I rarely find anywhere else!
This is why I wrote my first book, Mindfulness and the Natural World. This is why I am writing this blog.
Mindfulness-of-nature is an open invitation to everyone to ‘come back to life’. Through sharing personal anecdotes, reflections on mindfulness more generally and on mindfulness in the context of our relationship with the natural world, it aims to inspire us all to notice, explore, enjoy and share experiences of the simple joy of being alive.
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, questions, or any of your own experiences of mindfulness and of nature. Please leave comments here, or contact me directly!