Mindfulness in nature

In Mindfulness by Susan Allshorn

Mindfulness in Nature or taking a walk.

Why do so many mindfulness posts focus on nature? Peaceful beach scenes, mountains, running water, sunsets, sunrise and trees.

Because there are 2 sorts of people in life (an exaggeration I know but bear with me). Those who hate the countryside and love the city and those who loathe city life and thrive knee deep in mud, feeding animals or walking down a lane turned to a stream by yesterday’s pouring rain.

Even those who hate the countryside will sometimes take themselves to the local green space. Take Hampstead Heath. I saw a gorilla – 2 actually – there once, along with Alice in Wonderland and Snow White! I had taken a seat on a bench at the top of the Heath and closed my eyes to savour the summer sun, it was a tremendous shock when I opened them. There were gorillas walking towards me,  they were scary. Until I realised the suits were very realistic. I meandered back to the workshop venue and it was a great relief to see the other characters and realise it was a party not a mass breakout from London Zoo.

The country in small doses can prove very relaxing occasionally for even the most ardent townie and gloriously restful provided there’s no unexpected wildlife. Think what it feels like to have the sun on the back of your neck on that first day in spring. The bite’s gone from the wind and it finally feels warm. Is it not pleasant?

The colours of a sunrise or sunset, even the excitement of a cracking storm, splashing in puddles – not confined to children I might add.

I hate the countryside?

Really? All of it? or just the unfamiliar bits? I feel much the same about the city – strange, scary, unfamiliar. But there are glorious bits there too. Places where people meet for coffee. Streets where families live side by side or close by. A buzz of energy, excitement, things to do that broaden the mind and stretch the imagination.

People living lives I can’t even begin to imagine and here’s the connection.

Mindfulness – awareness of self and how we are all alike, breathing, wanting to be happy and suffering too means we try to cultivate a sense of kindly curiosity towards ourselves and others which opens a world of new experiences, relationships, learnings which may be about nature or about us as part of nature. Possibilities we’ve never even dreamed of.

So what’s your nature. Town or Country – it’s wonderful that we aren’t all the same that there is room for both lifestyles and we can appreciate the one we are less comfortable with even while we relish the one we love.