The world feels entirely off kilter for so many. As jobs, schools, gathering places and now even laws and the ways they are enforced are in limbo, the natural world goes on as usual. Animals forage. Flowers blossom. The sun keeps rising and setting. And really, as people we go on too. Our moods and plans shift, but we still need to breath, eat, sleep, connect. We need something to do all day.
So here are some ways to escape or dive in, depending on your perspective. A few explorations are human-centric, the majority focus on plants, weather and animals. This is an invitation to get outside, to get curious and NOTICE what’s around you. These are mindful meditations in action. Feel free to try one, or spend a whole month trying something new each day. Anxiety, politics, work and bills will always be there. No doubt they need attention. But just for now, take a moment to leave them behind, get curious, and explore.
Take a New Turn
Go for a walk, jog, hike or bike ride. Take just one new turn. Where does it lead? Do you see any flowers, trees, people or homes you’ve never noticed? Do you see things you always notice? Why do you pay attention to them? Why not the new weed growing beside your left foot? Or under your right one. Is it clean or speckled with mud? Is it blooming, aromatic, or looking really parched? Can you relate today? Do you feel calm or stressed and out of your comfort zone taking a new turn? How far will you travel the new path?
Try smiling at people as you pass. Wearing a mask? Try waving. Want to be really brave? Verbally greet people (strangers and friends). Then notice how you feel. How fast is your heart beating? Do you feel like smiling more? Is it easy, tough, maybe awkward finding something to say to people? Do you feel like doing it more or shying away from it? How did you see others’ respond to your greeting?
Take a walk or go outside in the rain: feel free to wear rain gear or get wet. How does the earth look different than when it is dry? Do you notice a difference in the sounds, smells or movement of plants and animals? Who is outside and what are they doing? How fast are they moving? How fast are you moving? What happens if you just stand still for 2 minutes?
Do you have a garden or see a garden? Are there weeds in it? How many plants? What kinds? Do they look messy, neat, pretty? Are they large, medium sized, small, or as my daughter likes to say: “teeny tiny”? What shapes are their leaves? How about petals? How many shades of green do you notice? What other colors do you find? Are you curious how any of the plants taste? Maybe try a leaf, stem, or blossom (do check into whether they are poisonous first here’s a helpful start).
What else is there to explore outside today?