By 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦, I mean natural. We are inherently surrounded by elegant simplicity. The delicate fold of a new leaf unfurling; the gentle decent of that same leaf, months later, as it is released by the steadfast deciduous of its birth.
We now live in an unnatural world of concrete and plastic; imitation flora decorating the interior landscape of our homes and offices; completely removed form the 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘺 parts of actual life such as the slaughter of meat for constant consumption. Would you eat meat if you had to kill and dress it yourself? I wouldn’t. So I don’t eat meat.
Our modern trappings have so removed from being able to actually take pleasure in simplicity.
Go outside today. Learn the names of the tress in your immediate space, smell a wildflower as it struggles for sunlight through a crack in the concrete jungle.
What wonders can be found just outside your doorstep, waiting to be cherished for the integral part of existence that it quietly is?
Are you being mindful of your needs? As we (in the northern hemisphere) move towards colder shorter days, it is a good idea to spend sometime creating nourishing routines to maintain balance. Are you getting proper nutrition? Eat warming nourishing foods like homemade root vegetable soups, stews, or try a warming Kitchari for a gentle seasonal cleanse.
Are you moving your body to keep your lymph flowing? Your lymph cleanses your blood and system as it circulates through your body. Unlike blood, lymph needs you to move in-order for it to move. Try some gentle yoga, walking or a rebounder is great for lymphatic system health. Always check with a doctor before starting any new exercise. ..and remember to drink plenty of water!
Are you getting quality, consistent sleep? Movement and proper nutrition will definitely help with getting better sleep. Try not to eat 2 hours before bed. Getting up and going to sleep every night can also help with the quality of your slumber. Need help unwinding? Try a guided meditation (check out Spotify page) to help slow down thoughts and find restful comfort.
Practice. Beginning a meditation practice can be daunting. I have heard so many times “Oh I stopped because I couldn’t stop thinking” or a similar statement. It’s a challenging stigma to overcome — meditation doesn’t mean your mind is blank. It means we are able to lose the attachment to the thinking mind, we release the attachment to the thought.
The easiest way I found, when I was first dipping my toes into the meditation pool, was to view my thoughts as just something happening.
Like this: When you have a thought (doesn’t matter what it is!) say to yourself “there goes a thought” and I guarantee you’ll have another one following right behind-“ oh look, more thoughts”
Thoughts come and go all day long. It’s not the thoughts necessarily that cause us the stress but the attachment to certain thoughts. Replaying stressful situations or worrying about the future are both forms of this attachment.
Meditation allows us to learn how to find space and release our attachment to constant mind chatter. Over time, with consistent practice, we are able to sit with a calm mind. Outside of meditation the chatter quiets down, loses its hold on us and we begin to live more mindfully with less attachment, stress and worry.
If you are just beginning your practice, I recommend guided meditations as they provide a focal point for the minds eye. I have some short guided meditations, perfect for beginners or seasoned mediators available on Insight Timer, for you to explore.
Once comfortable with guided practice, try sitting for 1 minute. Yes only 1. Trust me. Set a timer. It’s longer then you think if you are not used to sitting quietly. The first time I attempted this I lasted about 35 seconds before checking the timer!
I am most content in Nature, be it mountains or fields, in these places I have a sense of connection, of suchness that eludes me in trappings of concrete and steel. When I am able to spend even brief moments in the bounty of the earth, I am reborn, refreshed and deeply content.
I recently stumbled across the writings of Wendell Berry, a man of “suchness” and I think this quote from his essay “A Native Hill” captures the essence of the lightness and depth one feel’s amidst Nature’s verdant realms.
“And so I go to the woods. As I go in under the trees, dependably, almost at once, and by nothing I do, things fall into place. I enter an order that does not exist outside, in the human spaces. I feel my life take its place among the lives-the trees, the annual plants, the animals and birds, the living of all these and the dead-that go and have gone to make the life of the earth. “I am less important than I thought, the human race is less important than I thought. I rejoice in that. My mind loses its urgings, senses its nature and is free.” ~Wendell Berry, A Native Hill