Tuning in to our environment…

willy wagtail
Many indigenous cultures claim that it is important to listen to what the wildlife have to say to us… Since working in Central Australia – I’ve always felt an affinity with Willy Wagtails – yesterday as I was the sole person walking on the cold beach a Willy Wagtail came down to feed at the high tide waterline….I’d never seen one that close to the water before….and he wasn’t shy…he would flutter away just a few metres ahead of me and wait as if I was to follow him?
 
My mind was filled with work as I walked but seeing this Willy Wagtail made me pause – and then I remembered to ask ‘Do you have a message for me?” and I listened…and deep within my heart was the message: let go of work, pay attention to these beautiful surroundings and live a little, dance a little, just as this willy wagtail was keen for me to do!
 
It was a beautiful wake up call, and got me out of my headspace and into my heartspace – and I left the beach feeling really grateful to this cheeky bird for the interruption to my thoughts, for the bringing me back to the present moment, for the gratitude that welled up in my heart.
 
So I’m wondering, what is in your environment right now? What can you tune into? And what inner words of wisdom can you hear when you pause?
 
Cheers, Sara 🙂

Mindful Writing / Sketching / Journalling & GOLDEN MOMENTS

humpback whale 2
I have just finished reading Brene Brown’s Rising Strong – I love what that woman has found in her research!!! Brene found that if you write about your experiences, or sketch about it or create something around it (e.g. art journal) then you are more likely to work through the experience in a positive, wholehearted way and to feel better – to be healthier and have more wellbeing…
Brene quotes Dr Pennebaker’s research about using expressive writing to help people get over traumatic experiences by writing about their experiences every day for I think 4 days?? (here’s more info in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GyXrKHGzZs). If you were to do this around a traumatic experience I would recommend you do it under the guidance of a mental health professional. But if you were to do this to process events from your week – how beneficial could it be for you??
I have kept a journal since leaving home at 18 and traditionally used it to process all my negative feelings for the day so I could sleep…it really helped! But then once I started doing mindfulness and learning more about parenting 5 years ago – I began to ALSO use it as a tool to record what I am grateful for and those…..
GOLDEN MOMENTS….. those magic moments where you feel joy in your heart – they may be fleeting but they are what life is really all about (e.g. seeing a whale breach or the moon rise)- and so often we forget them in the course of our busy days! So often we can judge a day as negative when really there were many OK and some good moments in there – it is human nature to focus on the negative…….Writing or sketching our golden moments or capturing them in a photo can help our brains to rewire to notice more of the good stuff in our lives as they happen!! Brene’s calm down strategy in Rising Strong for herself is go out and take one photo!
Since August last year I have been doing stream of consciousness writing and keeping an art journal as I work through the book The Artist Way by Julia Cameron – and it is making a HUGE difference to my day – clearing out the negative self talk, helping me set a mindful intention for the day, recording the golden moments and just being more present to what is as I write about it / or sketch about it! I also find if I’m sketching or creating then I am in the flow and there’s no way I can worry or be anxious….
What do you think? Is this something you could do – weekly or when you need to or daily??
One of my most favourite mindful activities is to do a Mindful Walk in nature with a sketch book and take time to write / sketch my experience! It might only be 45 minutes once a week – but it is where I feel the most peace! Somehow writing or sketching as I walk – REALLY helps me to relish and be in the present moment!
That is why I have organised the Mindfulness In May Peace Walk – where we will walk mindfully – and then sketch our messages of peace in the sand, take photos and upload and share on facebook! I hope, wherever you are, you can join us!!!! 🙂   You can find us at:
Happy Sketching / Writing or Journalling or Taking Photos,  Cheers, Sara 🙂

Mindful Walking

relaxing footprints in the sand shutterstock

I love mindful walking, tuning into what I can hear, feel, see; especially if I am doing that at the beach or in the forest…. and yet I can talk myself out of it, all of the time! ‘I have better things to do, I don’t have time, is it worth it, really?’

Last Friday was looking busy – but I had an hour so I grabbed my sketch book, and went to my local beach and forced myself to walk slowly, to look closely at the shells and rocks washed up, to pick them up, hold them, and sketch them and really bring my mind back to the present moment.   Each time my brain wandered (most likely to: – ‘but  there are things I need to do, things I urgently need to think about, what good is this anyway?!!’) – I’d gently bring my mind back to What can I see? What can I hear? What can I feel? and the effect after 1 hour was so calming a poem came to mind (below)…to remind myself that mindful walking is just what I need when my brain is racing!

My challenge this week though is not just to do a mindful walk in nature but to also remember I can walk mindfully from one room to another, from inside to outside, from the car to work etc…  Are you up for the challenge? Does mindful walking work for you?

If you would like to join our Mindful Monday Challenge online group you can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1045913615480695/

The mindful treasures I found…

mindful treasures

Mindful Walk On Shelley Beach

belly loosens

time slows down

no destination

or objective,

just wander

& see what I

can hear…see…feel….

my mind protests

but there’s things to do

‘settle petal’

‘this is my time now’

to slow my thinking

to be in the present moment

to be…

and it comes back to me

how often I used to do this

how healing wandering is

feeling the sand

between my toes,

the cold water,

finding shells,

why have I left it so long

to come back to myself?

to come back to nature?

NOT hurrying,

NOT exercising,

NOT thinking ahead in my brain,

JUST being….

Just being me

And I promise myself to do this

at least once a week,

a gift to my soul.

by Sara 🙂

Moon Dancing At My Feet…

I was walking along on the beach one evening just recently….totally caught up in a whirl of thoughts and drama and plans and worries (as so often happens), when a wave washes up and as it recedes, there beside me, is the perfect reflection of the moon, twinkling at me!  Immediately I  ‘wake up’  and realise where I am and how lucky I am, right in that present moment, to have the moon dancing by my feet.   Every time my mind attempted to drift, another wave would wash up and there again was the moon almost winking at me, reminding me to be right here, right now!

Hope you all have a beautiful ‘wake up’ moment this week.