Posted by: Tina M | 20 February , 2012

Mindfulness, Nature, and a new era of Self-Care

I am lucky enough to take part in mindfulness trainings through my work and recently took a “Nature Awareness” Training through the same facilitator that leads them. It was a gorgeous day-long trip to Point Reyes.

I’d been to the West Coast of the North Bay- but had yet to make it as far as Point Reyes and I was amazed at how gorgeous and diverse the terrain was. We took time to sit on a hill and marvel at the fact that we could turn a full 360 degrees without seeing any man-made structures (which is rare for the Bay Area). It felt so good to soak up the sunshine and hear the wind blowing across hillsides of tall grass. We continued on to the beach and ate our lunch then set about to collect objects that stood out to us, as if we were looking for clues to our hearts questions that we brought into nature for the day. We were instructed to arrange the objects and then take a look at them as if the figure would give us some sort of answer.

 

Map of Point Reyes

Beach bits sculptureMy sculpture consisted of a small rock with coral clinging to it- something about the contrast of a relatively large branches stemming from such a small stone reminded me of the illusion of safety and stability. There was also a half of an anemone  whose insides were designed with a delicate filigree of holes created by who knows what and finally there was a shell with a snail still inside. When I picked it up it had looked like it was sealed off by some sort of cap, but when I touched it, the little snail poked it’s body out and quickly retreated again. The rest were just rocks that were so smooth and small that it was satisfying to stack them and fit them together until there was an intricate weaving of background.

I’m not sure what answers I got, except how satisfying it is to stack and organize things mindlessly, that I focus on the big picture too much and lose sight of the details, and that nature can hold our problems, in a way that no friend can, no matter how good of a listener. I felt free for the day, connected only to the world around me, on a physical sense.

It was gorgeous.

 

And since I’ve been practicing mindfulness I’ve found that I crave physical activity in a way that I never imagined would be possible. It’s gotten to the point where I can feel the tension building in my body if I don’t go for a walk or play a dance video game.

Today, I was lucky enough to be reminded of my deep love of Frisbee-

Now, I’m not into the frisbee golf (for the same reasons I don’t think I’d enjoy regular golf), and I’m rarely a fan of ultimate frisbee (it has to be a great group of people), but I do enjoy good ol’ fashioned throw and catch. Inevitably you end up running your ass off as the frisbee veers off in directions that were unforeseen or you have to leap into the air in an effort to avoid the long distance landing. We spent hours in the park, the sun beaming bright enough to make the cool february breeze feel like its more like spring.

It reminded me of my days at Antioch, spent playing frisbee during each free stretch of time, picking up players as they returned from class or finally got out of bed- and always making it easier to socialize. Some people have cigarettes, I have the frisbee.

 

 

 


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