Mindfulness of Nature

Reflections on water

Dear friends,

I hope this finds you well on this watery week.

On Monday, I led my first event with a group of 13 year olds at St John’s College school in Cambridge – on possibly the rainiest day we’ve had here for 6 months!

My first thought that day was “Heavy rain all day! What am I going to do with them?”. I felt disappointed and frustrated.

Still, I stopped myself in my ‘autopilot’ tracks, put a raincoat on and went to sit in the garden.

I paid attention to the physical sensations of my breath.

I paid attention to how I was feeling and noticed the associated narratives in my mind.

In particular, I noticed myself wanting to avoid the rain as my body tensed up and my mind wished it away.

I opened up to tune into my direct experience of the rain. I noticed what it looked like, the ripples, the droplets, the shapes of its free-fall. I listened to its sound, I tasted it and I felt it on my hands as I opened them up to receive the water from the sky.

Something I’ve explored in many of my events before then came to mind: the water I was experiencing was the same as the water in my body. We share air, water, solid matter and energy within our natural body with the rest of the natural world. The body is in a constant process of receiving and releasing these natural elements from the natural world around us. We aren’t separate.

So I brought my attention to my experience of water within my body : saliva in my mouth, moisture of my outbreath and began to imagine the blood flowing through my body and the water bathing every single cell. I’m made of over 60% of water.

I invited the ‘avoidance tension’ in my body to release. I began to feel a gentle sense of nourishing, invigoration and aliveness. The separation between myself and the rain dissolved a little and I began to relax into the experience.

That afternoon, I explored this with the children at the school in the playground. At the end of the session, one of the girls shared “I’ve never thought about nature in that way, that we are part of it” and another reflected “It feels that nature is really a home”.

Why not try it? Go and sit or walk mindfully in the rain. You can always have a warm shower afterwards. How do you feel about the rain now?

13 thoughts on “Reflections on water

  1. Rosie

    Such wonderful observations! The rain is actually more likely to get me outdoors than a sunny day is. I have spent several really peaceful afternoons this week sitting in the Botanic Garden, enjoying the feel of rain landing on me, and watching the patterns rain makes in puddles.

  2. clairethompson Post author

    Ah lovely, Rosie! I do love the gardens. And it’s good to hear that not everyone has negative internal dialogue about the rain too, refreshing! Like the rain itself 😉

  3. Tina Davenport

    That’s so lovely. What a beautiful gift you have given those children. Awakening them to the realisation we are part of nature one and the same. How mind blowing for them that the rain is “in” us!!

  4. Lucy Highton

    Claire, this is such a lovely message. The nature side, absolutely. But also, that we can chose if we allow our minds to focus on the negative, or if instead we look for the beauty, the positivity, even when it’s hard to see. Thanks for sharing.

    1. clairethompson Post author

      Thanks Lucy. Yes, or even if not the ‘positive’, at least we can be with the reality, the direct experience of it rather than our narrative about it, which I feel is perhaps where our aliveness really lies?

  5. clairethompson Post author

    Ah thank you Tina. I am hoping to do more with children. In fact my next stop for that is a summer school in Cyprus in July!

  6. Kathy

    You have reminded me of an extraordinary dance workshop that i went to called “Moving to the well”. The facilitator, Miranda Tufnell, explored many themes including the “internal water” of our bodies. It was awe-inspiring to see myself in this light and yes, I can feel a visceral association with the clouds, the oceans, the rain.

    Best wishes for your wholesome, whole–earth practice and the sharing of it, especially with these young beings <3

    1. clairethompson Post author

      Beautiful, it’s always lovely to hear themes resonating across different practises and disciplines, including dance! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. clairethompson Post author

      haha, not strictly! Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Hydrogen…. the building blocks of life in other configurations that are not water… 🙂

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