Find yourself in a quiet place, stand till or sit and take long, deep, calming breaths. Take a moment to acknowledge this time to explore your senses in this place, one at a time. If you are happy to; close your eyes or soften your gaze, like a daydream mode.
Once you feel grounded, slowly take a walk….slowly is the key…. And remember for this short time you don’t need to check your phone, even to take pictures, you don’t need to chat to anyone, you can try not to label the plants and animals you come across.
Invitations to take in the woods.
Smell – a powerful sense to stoke memories.
Take a small amount of leaf, grass, flower, earth, moss, and take it to your nose and take a deep breath. Be wholly aware of the sensations and experience of the smell. Perhaps, scrunch it up a little and breath in again, how does this change the sensations?
The smell or earth and certain moss takes me back to Guide camp, being dirty and not caring a single bit. What memory or sensation does smell evoke for you?
Sight – with us most of the time but sometimes we forget to see.
Where do you see Spring? Slowly continuing your walk and mindfully considering what looks and feels like spring. What does spring do for the woods?
The sight of Spring gives me hope each year I get to witness her, what sense do you get from Spring?
Hearing – sound is all around but what do we hear?
Maybe sit for a moment and breath easy, settle the breath and continue to relax. If you feel comfortable close your eyes or find that daydream mode again. Focus on all the sounds you can hear, with no thought of good or bad sounds, just what you can nearby and after a while what you can hear further away.
Sound makes my heart skip a beat sometimes. What do you sense?
Touch – fingers are so sensitive and are used so frequently, perhaps we need to remember to feel the touch.
Continue your slow, slow walk and consider the textures you see and choose; a leaf, twig, moss, tree, that you are drawn to. Look for a while at the shape and texture, image what it might feel like. Use the tips of your fingers to gently trace the outer edges, the inner places, of your piece, consider closing your eyes at this point to engage the sensitivity of the fingertips.
If this felt calm and grounding (and it is safe to do so) why not take your chosen piece back to your real world, to look and touch at a time when you need to be reminded about calm. If your piece was a tree, remember where it is and return to it as often as you need to.
Taste – The forest offers a glut of amazing treats, but unless you know what you are picking, best to bring your own.
Our taste buds offer a moment to pause, and be overwhelmed by the sensations. Remember savouring that special cup of tea, the square of chocolate, the juicy nectarine – when we savour our tastes we are transported to an amazing place for a short time.
Prepare your drink of choice to enjoy in the woods, herbal tea and hot chocolate work well. Have a flask, a special cup, and maybe a teapot if brewing. Find a quiet, uninterrupted spot and create a comfortable seating area. Bring yourself back to a calm stillness with your breath, as you begin the ritual of making and then savouring the sensation of the drink on your mouth, tongue, tastebuds, throat and on.
The sensation and mindful ritual of the drink creates a sense of belonging and comfort for me. What would you take and I wonder what you’ll feel.
Enjoy your time in the woods or natural space, and remember all these activities can be comfortably enjoyed in a back garden.
There are so many more ideas of what to do to gain the benefits of spending time in nature. Can’t wait to share more again soon. Make contact and let me know what you’d like to hear more about.