The practice of being fully present is the path to finding peace and inspiration for your life, for finding your connection to yourself and the world. That can seem quite difficult at first, so it can be helpful to begin with an activity that brings you sensory pleasure.
The common denominator in all such activities is being fully present, that is your focus on the here and now. This is where life is lived – right now. Your sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch are the easiest way to get you focused on NOW.
Note: Naming everything you encounter is not your friend in this process. Language is a wonderful and necessary thing, but it reduces everything to concepts and concepts are made up of past experiences thus masking what is right in front of you. For just this moment, don’t call it a maple tree lest you miss the experience of the tree in front of you. Focus on what your senses are offering to you and just experience them, without words. What do you see, smell, taste, hear, feel?
The following are a few ideas. We will find just the right ways for you.
Walking Meditation – This can be done in the wilderness or on a busy street or in your living room. Tuning in to your senses is a great way to quiet your mind and allow peace to seep in to your awareness. Notice without words – the rhythm of your feet, the tap of your walking stick, what you see, smell, taste, feel, hear.
Gardening – The work/play involved in growing flowers or food draws you into contact with the earth, the soil, the weather and all of the forces of nature. It is rich with metaphors through which your inner wisdom/spirit can inform your understanding and inspire insight into your life. As an example, You may notice happens when you don’t make the time to water your plants. And consider whether you similarly neglect yourself and note what happens. It is not for me to name your metaphors. They will come to you if this way of connecting is right for you.
Growing Houseplants – This can be a wonderful thing to do in winter when growing things are a reminder of the continuity of life regardless of appearances or if circumstances prohibit outdoor gardening. Growing a pot of herbs on a windowsill, a jar of sprouts or oat grass for your cat are nutritious and can be a reminder of the bounty offered to those who are willing to learn and participate in one of the most remarkable aspects of life on earth – a tiny seed that somehow knows how to become a full grown version of itself.
Feeding the Birds – There is something so uplifting and cheerful about sitting by a window in winter and watching a tiny chickadee bouncing with a cheerful chickadee-dee-dee despite the frigid weather. Grab a warm beverage and drift off into the wonder of nature right outside your window.
Nature Photography – Whatever catches your eye is a great way to get out of your head and into your senses. It encourages the habit of looking more closely at what is around you – noticing the newness of each day.
Homesteading – Focusing in on the feeling of home and participating fully in the exchange it offers. Grow some sprouts on your windowsill, a pot of tomatoes on your patio or a fence of snap peas in your garden. Take the time to watch them as they grow and join in the pleasure of watching a seed becoming just what it was intended to be. Raise some chickens and let yourself be entertained by their never ending antics and feel the connectedness and interdependence as you feed them and receive their eggs. The possibilities for connecting with your home are endless. Pick an aspect for your attention and spend time with it.
The more you practice this idea of being present and experience the joy and peace of your connection with your chosen activities, the more it will seep into all aspects of your life.
Let’s get started and find your most delightful ways to connect to the world around you and to yourself.