The rhythmic patterns of undulating water are calming.
"It has been shown that being near, in on or under water
can make you happier, healthier, more connected and better at what you do."
Taken from the book "Blue Mind", by Wallace J. Nichols
Watching soft waves lapping over sand in shallow waters
with the gentle ripples just catching the sun and drawing my attention
to a beautiful white pebble beneath the surface.
Being mindful seems to be talked about a lot, but do we really know what it is?
Our busy lives are very full, so are our minds as we rush from one occupation
to another, sometimes doing several things at once.
Even our leisure time can become stressful when we try and cram in
too many things.
"It is only through the senses that we experience what it means to be fully human"
extract from "Sight and Sensibility" by Laura Sewall.
The ocean brings in a new energy.
When we are near the sea, all our senses are awakened;
sight, sound, smell touch and hearing.
The ocean awakens us so that we may understand life and live it more deeply.
Noticing things as if for the very first time in a contemplative manner,
without labelling or judging.
This little catkin full of yellow pollen entwined in last year's leaf.
I loved how the soft natural background brought my attention to this lovely scene.
A play of shadows on a white wall and door
brings me into a whole different dimension that feels surreal.
Shadows can transport us into a whole new world.
I recently came across these sweet snowdrops nodding their little heads
in the breeze.
They brought me totally into the moment, despite the town environment.
As I contemplated their welcome presence
all other sounds and distractions disappeared.
My breathing slowed and I felt my body relax.
I brought some pussy-willow into my home and notice how the little fluffy balls
change a little each day.
Nature is a perfect way to absorb life mindfully.
Walking along the lake, besides the lovely view on the water and mountains,
I am taken by the shadows of the decorative iron railing.
Walking mindfully, conscious of each steps I take, and how that feels,
is another way of calming the mind and letting go of any overflowing thoughts.
Have you noticed that when in shock, saddened or grieving, our breathing
becomes more rapid and shallow?
This immediately increases our feelings of anxiety.
The best way for me to calm down is to slow my pace,
become aware of my breathing and consciously slowing its rhythm.
Here is a link to slow, calm breathing:
The cardiac coherence is a rhythmic or a coherent heart rate variability (HRV)
that balances the nervous system associated with stress and emotional state.
This can be attained through this 5-minute breathing technique.
Perhaps you use your own methods of practicing mindfulness,
it is possible that you're even doing it without even giving it a name!
It is useful to know that bringing ourselves into this state can
lower our blood pressure, reduce our stress levels, enhances sleep and improve our concentration.
Being aware of the beauty before us, and immersing ourselves
quite totally, allows us to take a step back from our over-active lives
and minds and bring us into a field of inner peace and contentment.
Breathe in the sky!
Many people manage to make space in each day to do mindful meditation,
but even without this, sitting quietly and breathing calmly for five minutes
will certainly be very beneficial.
I'd love to hear if you give that a try and how you feel about your experience.
Walking meditation is something which anyone can do.
Slow breathing is something that can be practiced anywhere.
I sometimes do it when waiting in a queue.
It calms any feeling of impatience I might have.
It can even be done when stuck in traffic jams or when travelling on public transport.
As a last thought,
Jon Kabat-Zinn, in his book "Wherever You Go, There You Are"
"Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful route for getting ourselves unstuck,
back in touch with our own wisdom and vitality.
It is a way to take charge of the direction and quality of our own lives,
including our relationships with the family, our relationship to work
and to the larger world and planet, and most fundamentally, our relationship
with ourself as a person."
I have enclosed a photo of some of the books that I have found useful.